Riches Found

Space is limited at Chez Mindful Life, and I have gradually filled the bookcases we have. Lately I wanted to read a pair of books that, while they were sure to be good reads, just weren’t worth spending money on, especially since I would only read them once and don’t have storage space. One copy was at my local city library. The other was listed as being “on the shelves,” but after repeated searches without success, I concluded it must be lost. So I searched elsewhere.

What I discovered amazed me. You see, some years ago a law was passed in California that removed residency requirements for public libraries. This means any person with a California residence and a photo I.D. to prove it can get a library card at any, and as many, libraries as she wants. This means I could actually get a library card for the Los Angeles library system. (Though that would be impractical, there is something tantalizing in the thought.) For years I have been a supporter (financially and civically) of public libraries, but I rarely used them. It’s time to walk the talk!

After discovering this mother lode, I’ve visited all the libraries closest to me to get cards (collect one! collect ’em all!) and thus was able to borrow the book I wanted (plus several more). In addition, each of these libraries offers inter-library loan services. Here is a list of my keys to free knowledge.

I could also get a card for the San Francisco Public Library as well as the East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa counties), but I may hold off. I think 40 miles is my geographic limit for borrowing books, and those are well beyond! Then again, there’s a brand new branch of the SF library just across the street from where I park on those days I drive to the city (and it’s less than a mile from the train station).

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