Friday, July 8, 2011
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!