Where’s My Book?

It maybe cliché’ to say now, but “when I was in school,” I went to a place called a library. It had a distinctly “old and treasured” type of smell. Upon entering, there was always an elderly lady behind a very long counter with a pleasant expression on her face. But, you were never to let that fool you; she could cut you in half with just her stares if you talked loudly or tried to reshelf your own books!
Past the seemingly sweet librarian was a large wooden box on four legs. It had rows and rows of drawers with small pieces of paper in them like you would see in a Rolodex – not sure they make those anymore either, so sufficed to say, ”small papers in a long rectangular drawer.” This, my young friends, was the hub of the Library! The Card Catalog!
Here’s how it went down: you walked to the library, searched for a book by title or author in the card catalog, found the book you were looking for and wrote down the “Dewey Decimal” number on a small piece of cut up paper that sat in a recycled box with golf size pencils, then you proceeded to the large book racks. There you would scan the rows until you found your book. You would place the self-laminated blue strip of paper in the exact place you pulled the book (just in case you didn’t want it and needed to put it back). If it was the book you wanted, you would proceed to the check-out desk where that same seemingly nice librarian awaited you. She would take a look at your paper library card and write down your name and the books assigned number; she would then take out a lined piece of paper that was in a pocket that had been glued to the front of the inside cover of your book and she would stamp the date on the card, place it back in the book, and remind you of the return and renewal dates (and fees). Finally, you would leave happily with your new book. However, the other, too-often-seen scenario was upon approaching the bookshelves, you discovered that the book you wanted was not there. And so your name went on a waiting list, which for me must have often been lost, because I rarely received a phone call saying my book had been checked back in.
Alas, times have changed and certainly for the better regarding the whole “book hunt issue.” We now have http://K-12.floridalibraries.org. You simply log on to the site, type in the name or a keyword of your book and click the search button. You can search by county, school, subject, genre, author, etc. If the book you are looking for is not at your local school library all you have to do is request it be sent there from a library that does have the book. Within days you just swing by and pick it up. How easy and convenient is that? There is even an “Ask a Librarian” page on the website that allows you to submit an inquiry and receive an answer through a chat feature, online, or through a text message. Trips to the library may not be as adventurous as they once were, but their books can still take on a wild ride!

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