Introducing Kelsi Lerner, one of Mirador’s new monthly columnists! Articles from her series, Why… is Addicting, are posted on the second Friday of every month.
We’ve all seen it. Whether we’re going to the library for class to use the computers or just for fun to visit with the lovely librarians (seriously Ms. Shostrom is a badass), we have all at one point felt the siren’s call of the “free books” cart. Sitting there seductively with its shelves packed with unwanted books looking for a home, its old book smell wafting through the air like the most welcoming cologne… it’s pretty hard not to at least just take a little peak…
Look at your hands, now back at me, now back to your hands. You’re suddenly holding five or more used books that you will never read.
“No!” you cry. “I’ll totally read A Complete History of Medieval Europe!”
No, you totally won’t.
“This will be so useful later in life, I just know it!” you insist.
No, no. These books will sit on your bookshelf forever as unread as the day you picked them up in the first place.
“They understand me!” you proclaim, “My Life as A Jewish Vegan Orphan is like it was written about me.”
Stop it. This is getting embarrassing.
The fact of the matter is that for some strange reason, the free book cart at the Miramonte library is oddly addictive. Maybe it’s the lure of anything being free, or maybe it’s for a more noble reason such as the pursuit of knowledge (it’s not). Regardless, I’ve slowly accumulated a pile of books ranging from the Complete Biography of Niccolò Machiavelli to a Sports Almanac from the 90s. These books are filling up my book shelves and taking away valuable space from… my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, a math text book I never returned from the seventh grade, and a copy of Time Management: Tips and Skills that I forgot about in favor of playing on the computer.
Okay, so maybe physical copies of books have gone slightly out of style. In the world of a teenager with smart phones and Kindles, adding a hard copy of a book to your already 10-pound backpack is just frankly unappealing. It’s not that we don’t like books, it’s that we don’t like carrying them.
But then there are the free books from the library. They’re mainly research books. They’ve either gone out of date or students just aren’t using them anymore. Maybe the library needs more room for copies of The Hunger Games, (which is not, by the way, about anorexia).
Either way, they’re getting rid of books that look smart. Specifically books that would make you look smart if they were on your bookshelf. Which really, is the only reason most of us keep books that aren’t for referencing things, anyway. We only actually buy copies of books to show off on our coffee table…. and at the library it’s completely free.
So why not keep taking books from the library’s free book cart? They’re free, and you’re in need of some intelligent looking literature. Go ahead, you can stop anytime you want.