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THE library

The Library of Congress is the world's largest library. It has more than 147 million items on 800+ miles of bookshelves!

On Saturday I toured the LOC with my Washington Romance Writers chapter-mates. I knew it was a large building (actually three, plus several off-site locations) with lots of books and a big reading room, but I had no idea how beautiful it was inside.

The whole main building is a monument to books, knowledge, and those authors considered to be greats at the time the main building was completed in 1897.

Now that I’ve been inside, I’m definitely bringing my family to visit, and to see the exhibits I missed the first time.

If you’re in D.C. sometime, check it out.

(Click any photo for a larger version.)

Love in the library

I'm back in the land of good libraries. Yes, the hours are being reduced due to budget cuts, but you don't realize how good you have it in a big-city library system until you move to a small one.

Like here, the libraries systems in southern Alabama were organized by county. Unfortunately, I lived in the largest city in that county, and it only had 45,000 people. The whole county only had four branches. I could check the “card catalog” online, but I couldn't reserve or renew books, or check my current holdings online.

They also just couldn't compete with a big-city library when it comes to inventory of boooks, magazines, and audio books.

Don't get me wrong. For the size of the town/county, the Autauga-Prattville Public Library system was pretty good. They stocked a decent percentage of new releases, and offered lots of programs for young kids. But for a city girl like myself, it was a huge step backwards.

The beautiful library in downtown Fairfax, where I got my card today, made me want to jump for joy. It's either fairly new (or recently updated), two stories with lots of windows and places to sit, and even has self-checkout. I can manage my account online, and there was no first-timer check out limit.

Amazing what taxes can do. I'm a strong believer in supporting authors by buying their books, but I often find new favorites by trolling the library shelves. Besides, I couldn't possibly afford to buy all of the books I want to read. For that reason, I'm also a strong believer in supporting my local library.

No matter what yours is like, you can make it better by donating money or used books, and patronizing the used book sales. I'm in love with my new library. How's yours?

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