5:31:15 My New Library Card

A few days ago, I got a new library card. That's odd, given that I work for the library system in Portland and have had the same library card for time out of mind. I had no need for a new library card.

The catch is the card is for a library in a different city (and a different state). For years, I've been a fan of the new library in Vancouver, Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland. An architectural gem, the five stories house something modern with a bit of snap and excitement to the library experience.

[library card]

Civil comforts like a first-floor coffee bar with light snacks, a fifth-floor balcony for walking out and taking in fresh air and an unobstructed view of the river plain cum lava butte landscape of Portland metro with westbound PDX flights slipping overhead. Directly below, a vacant lot of wild flowers [this time of year] and an asphalt border of off-street free parking.

True, the collection at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library [its official name] is not as deep as Portland Central, but for someone like myself, who shelves, checks in, checks out library materials for hours on end, if I am going to have the true library patron experience, I'd like to go somewhere I'm not recognized as a Multnomah County Library staffer.

I should have realized this before, but the library systems on either side of the Columbia River have reciprocity. I issue cards to Vancouver folks, so why not vice versa?

So, a few days ago, I crossed the river and filled out an application, showing them my Oregon Driver's License picture ID.

I later self-checked out the first of what I'm sure will be more books.

But before that tangible commitment to the responsibility of a new library account--the checkout--I enjoyed browsing. It's a simple book-lover's pleasure: going for that odd bit of serendipity, the book never seen. I've shelved so much of Portland's collection over the years, the odd surprise--besides new books--seems less common. Vancouver has different selection staff, something different in their tastes, but it's more. I can't put my finger on the exact quality. Possibly the different library interior makes me see what's in the shelving stacks as fresher, as less familiar.

This opening up library accounts might become a new pursuit of mine. Next on my list would be opening an account at the Mt. Angel Abbey Library, about forty minutes south of Portland. Designed by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, I would think the interior light of that building alone would help one read with pleasure!

Image credit: google images: fvrl.org


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The Cat at Light's End
 

Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection, The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:

.mobi (Kindle)
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)

Also, a flash fiction, "Ylena Thinks Nyet," is at Cigale Literary Magazine.


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