Friday, July 8, 2011

Hometown Superhero

It appears to be simply an innocuous bystander--you see it on your way to work most days and occasionally you stop in for a visit. It is well-known by everyone in town but, sadly, well-used by few. It is a rare individual who knows the true essence of what it is: the purveyor of truth--the muse of childrens' dreams--the superhero on Main Street. If you have a problem, the odds are good that your local library has a solution.

Don't believe me? Here are three instances of the library saving me personally.

1. Last month my car broke down and I took it in to the shop to have it looked at. I brought it to the most honest, reliable mechanic I know. The diagnosis? A leaky radiator that was beyond patching. The price-tag? five-hundred dollars. Not likely on the budget of a college student. I told my mechanic to give me an hour to think about it, and headed straight to the 629's on the Reference Floor at the library. According to the Chilton's fix-it manual for my car, replacing the radiator was an easy operation, and there were diagrams to prove it. After buying an eighty dollar part from Auto-Zone and putting my car up on blocks, it took me an hour and a half to fix it.

Saved: $420.00 (That's nearly one-half the cost of a single class at Northeastern).

2. In March of 2008, I went to Costa Rica for a week. At the time, none of the roads outside of the capital city had been mapped by satellite, and we were staying in a remote mountain village. So, I headed to the library to check out a travel book. Lonely Planet's most recent guide to Costa Rica. It included a detailed map the area we were visiting, including the location of local restaurants, the village police station, the nearest hospital, and hotels organized by price-point. There were also meticulous directions on how to get from the Airport in San Jose to this particular village by rental car, and a note recommending visitors to rent an SUV, because a majority of mountain roads are not paved. Though we did rent an SUV, three-quarters of the way into our drive the rear driver's side wheel nearly fell off on the side of a mountain. This situation was nearly disastrous--who know what would have happened if we'd been driving an ill-equipped compact-car?

Saved: Potentially, my life.

3. A while back I asked my boyfriend to teach my how to play chess. (I wanted to be able to hob-knob with the intellectual aristocracy--in other words, I wanted to get my snob on). Yet, despite my best efforts, he kept winning no matter how many times we played. What self-respecting snob loses at chess? So, I checked out Chess for Dummies and now I'm unbeatable. While bragging rights might not seem like they'd be as valuable as $420.00 or my life, between two highly competitive people, they are essentially priceless.

Saved: My dignity.

Thank you, Library!


Laura A. said...

Great post! And I'm totally impressed that you were able to fix your own car!

Anonymous said...

It's so true that you can save time and money and gain a lot of knowledge along the way when you consult your local library. I might have to check out Chess for Dummies so I can beat my daughter at chess!

Roberta said...

I used a library book and replaced my Golf's headlight bulbs for under ten bucks after the dealer told me it would be $250 - but I am totally impressed that you replaced your own RADIATOR! Snaps to you!

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