When I was growing up, my mom used to take me and my brother to the local library every couple of weeks. We would sit there and read and then check out books to take home. I became an avid reader at a very young age and to this day, will read anything. I am so elated to dig into a good book or magazine article but I’ll also read cereal boxes and the back of a deoderant bottle. Happily, I’ve been able to pass on my love of reading to my kids. We read separately, but together, most every night before they go to bed, sitting in the living room or up on my bed.

I started going to my local library on a weekly basis about a year ago. I don’t know what took me so long. Its a nice library, not too big or small. A microcosm of my community: landscape laborers from Guatemala, older people who settle into the comfortable chairs for the day and read the newspapers, kids from the local public schools. I always see someone I know.

Sometimes my kids come with me and troll the kids section for whatever catches their eye. Then they sit and start reading. If they like the book, they take it home. If not, they just put it back up on the shelf. I’ve started carrying a little notebook around with me. I use it for grocery lists, to-do lists but most importantly, I use it to write down the titles of books that I want to read. The titles come from a lot of different sources: my mother, the New York Times Book Review, friends. They are biographies and memoirs, bestsellers and mass-market books, and more important reads. I like to mix it up.

I can even go online and request a book to be delivered to my branch. I always have a few on order. When the book arrives, the library calls and an automated message lets me know its there. But they don’t tell you the title on the message. So when you get to the library you don’t know whats waiting for you until they bring the book out from the back. Its like getting a present. And I always walk away from the desk with a big, goofy smile on my face.

I don’t buy books anymore. Going to the library is so much better.