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Browsing for Books? October 8, 2008

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, Fiction, Literature, Public libraries, readers, Reading.
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On one of my professional listservs, there’s a discussion going on about whether people are browsing for books in libraries anymore.  Many people, we are told, simply place holds on the titles their friends recommend or they hear about through the media. 

I certainly do see people browsing here at the Library, but maybe not in the numbers they once did.  And if browsing is on the decline, I think that’s unfortunate. 

I am a great believer in serendipity.  When I go to a new destination, one of my favorite things to do is to wander.  For example, that’s how I encountered Barcelona’s truly fabulous central market.  Yes, I could have read about it in a guidebook and planned to visit at a certain date and time, but the surprise was marvelous.  I like to leave time and space for discovery, for encountering something I hadn’t anticipated. 

I know everyone is overscheduled and stressed out.  But I think a really great form of relaxation would be to simply wander in the stacks of a good library.  Spread out before you is the wisdom of the ages, should you feel in need of it…but also wonderful escape reading, how-to manuals of every description, volumes of great art, biographies of the noble and the notorious…and the travel guides that will help you be a better wanderer. 

These are tough times.  It might also be a good time to go to the Library and see if you can find your own personal instruction book to help you deal with whatever challenges you are facing. 

Happy Reading! 

The Book Goddess


1. knightofswords - October 8, 2008

I’ve never liked window shopping or browsing–except in bookstores and libraries. Sure, friends tell me what they read but I don’t like most of it. I’d rather let the book find me by being, well, where books hang out.


2. bkclubcare - October 9, 2008

I don’t know why but browsing the library usually means I go home with nothing because I can’t decide what to check out. Now that I’m blogging, however, I can usually have a title in mind to search. Which they usually don’t have, so I’m back to being frustrated again. Reserving online the specific title is all I do now and do love the library for the inter-library loan service: awesome!

3. Stephanie - October 16, 2008

I don’t browse much, since I have two kids to run after! I get most of my recommendations from other bloggers.

4. Susan - November 5, 2008

I used to browse all the time,but I haven’t been to the library in about a year now. When I do go, I have a list, but I also like to browse. I love how you put it : ‘I like to leave time and space for discovery, for encountering something I hadn’t anticipated. ‘ Libraries are great for that serendipitous surprise book coming home, aren’t they? and one of my favourite places in the world, all those books!! Lovely post.

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