I fought it as long as I could, which might seem strange considering that in order to fulfill the purpose of this blog I need to ensure that I always have a book waiting to be read on my nightstand. However, the shameful truth is that for the last year since I picked up and moved to Brooklyn, I have had plenty of books of my own to read: birthday presents, Christmas presents, and more than a few spur-of-the-moment purchases.
But there came a time, dear readers, when my stockpile was beginning to run dry. Faced with the headache-inducing small print of two mass media paperbacks of Ayn Rand’s most well-known works, I decided it was time. A little too gleefully, I filled out an online request to have my brand new library card mailed to me.
Take that, I thought as I smugly gazed upon the books around my room, carefully avoiding eye contact with Rand’s prose. I have conquered you all, and now the rest of the literary world shall be at my fingertips.
It sounded less evil in my head.
I only had to wait a few days for my card to arrive (Insider’s Tip: it can take up to a month if you want to get a card mailed from the New York Public Library; score 1 for Brooklyn’s apparently less popular system), and five blocks later I was standing before the hallowed halls of Brooklyn’s central branch.
Walking into a library for the first time with an unused card is one of life’s unexpected joys, in my opinion. I did find that Brooklyn Central had a few quirks, though, such as the librarians’ choice to place Tolstoy’s War and Peace on the New Fiction shelf with a big NEW sticker on its unassuming spine. Good news for all the classicists out there: Tolstoy’s hip again.
Another quirk? Patrons can take out up to 99 items on one card. Now maybe the suburbs of Philadelphia are a bit backwards, but when I was growing up, I was only allowed to borrow 10-15 books at a time. Fewer if a majority were hardcovers or new releases.
There is, however, a downside to this gloriously high limit of 99 items: