I've mentioned before, both on this blog and Facebook, that I am a volunteer at my local library. I have been volunteering there for about eleven months. I've met some great people, and it's really been quite fun. In fact, I think volunteering there has made books a hobby of mine, more than they used to be. I will explain all that and more in this post.
I'd like to say that I've always liked books. It's somewhat true; I could read all by myself before I was even in kindergarten, and I went to the public and school libraries pretty frequently as a child. I checked out some fiction, but I also read a lot of non-fiction about dinosaurs, computers, space travel...whatever interested me at the time. However, during part of my rebellious teenage years, I didn't like reading as much. During my time in middle school, I spent much more time going on the Internet, watching television, listening to the same songs a million times, or playing Game Boy Color or GameCube than I did reading. Even when I did read, it mostly wasn't for fun. We were assigned some books to read, and I read them, and there was the Accelerated Reader program that required reading and affected our grades the last two years of middle school, and I took part in that, but the only book I remember reading for no other reason than I just wanted to was A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle, which was the sequel to a book I was required to read. I also didn't read too much during the first two years of high school, either. My mom probably never expected me to like reading again...but, believe it or not, a yard sale in my neighborhood changed all that. Some guy there was selling a box full of Star Wars novels. I'd seen all the movies, and I liked them, and the books were cheap, so, I bought a couple. The only SW literature I'd read previously was the novelization of Attack of the Clones and one or two juvenile chapter books, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, when I started reading the first novel, I was BLOWN AWAY! It was better than the movies! I started checking the library, bookstores and other yard sales for more SW books, and reading those also led to me finding other book series that were really good, too, including Harry Potter, Alex Rider, Maximum Ride, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Acorna, and Star Trek.
When I started volunteering at the library, I found out about things the library had that I hadn't known about before. One such thing was Inter-Library Loan, where one library gets items--books, music CDs, audiobooks, DVDs/VHS tapes, etc.--from other libraries. Using that system has saved me a lot of money, because if the library hadn't been able to get those items, I probably would have had to rent/buy them, which would have cost a lot.
I've been wanting to say this since I started this post, so, here it is: I think I've spent more time in the past year doing things involving books--reading them, reading about them online, reviewing them using LivingSocial, talking about them, shelving/organizing them both at the library and at home, buying them from library sales/yard sales/used bookstores/etc., processing them to be discarded--than I have spent doing anything else besides sleeping and maybe Facebooking. You may think that's a bad thing, but I say, there are too many people of my generation who hardly if ever read, and I'm sure that there are people who know them and wish they would read more. Well, if you want a well-read college-age person, look no further than yours truly. Plus, volunteering at the library is a service to the community, and the library has helped me immensely through the years, so why shouldn't I give back?