Have You Ever Heard of a Library?

Laura Miller writes in today’s New York Times:

I doubt I bought a single new hardcover book for myself (as opposed to for a class) until sometime after I’d turned 30. Being underemployed and unencumbered by children like a lot of people in their 20’s, I read a lot, but the only new books I could afford were paperbacks. So I waited for the new novel everyone was talking about to come out in paperback.

When I read things like this, I’m always astonished. It’s as though certain “influentials” in Manhattan have never heard of (let alone set foot in) a library. I almost never buy new books anymore (I used to drop $100 easily on books in a month, and I often didn’t read what I bought; now if I don’t read it I return it). Between the Ann Arbor District Library and the university library, I have more new books available to me than I could read in a year if I had 24 hours a day to read them. I may have to wait a few weeks to get that new book I have my heart set on, but in the meantime there’s plenty of other stuff to read. To me, that’s probably one of the two or three greatest things about living here.

Of course, saying I get all my new books from the library is probably not as glamorous as saying I buy hardcovers or paperbacks at Borders, but I couldn’t care less.