My aching back and the sixth giveaway

by Ahalya on October 2, 2009

Dear All,
It’s the sixth day of the giveaway and I was depressed all of today, worrying that I would be back to staring at the empty nest that my blog is not, right now πŸ™‚ So, I did the only thing that I could think of. I went to the library, and then book shopping πŸ˜‰

Now, I am the member of a very well-known library, in town, but it is a two-and-a-half-hour (one-way) journey from my home. I am not just any member, I am a family member, which means I get to take home 14 books, 2 DVDs and an aching back :/

Now, don’t even try telling me to bring home fewer books the next time. I won’t. Even when I have the option of choosing 14 books, there are still times when I wish they would raise the bar a bit, like 24 books or something. Anyway. As you know, I have an annoying habit of wanting to take more books than I am allowed to :/

What I am wondering is, why, when I pay three thousand rupees a year, why can’t I get them delivered home? Now I know what you are thinking. I should just buy a home closer to the library, or a mini-van. But, my point is, since I live very far away from the library, I would appreciate it if the books were brought and picked up from home. How many times have I renewed books unnecessarily, even though I had read them, but simply because I couldn’t make it to the library? Surely, this is not a bad idea? Getting books home? What about the joy of browsing you ask? True. What about it? Maybe just having the choice is good enough? What do you think? I think the problem is also that the libraries are too few and too far away. What do you think.

This is the sixth question by the way. Considering that there aren’t too many libraries to go around, and they are all invariably far from home, would you like your library to offer home delivery? What if you had to pay a little extra for it? Will you be content with surfing the catalogue online?

Now, on to the book shopping trip (well, I was in town anyway:)) and so I bought four new books that I can’t want to devour! One is especially interesting: Where are you going, you monkeys? Folktales collected and retold by Ki. Rajanarayanan and translated by Pritham K. Chakravarthy. There’s one section that’s cordoned off because it has got many β€˜dirty words’ can’t wait to get into that!

Ah well, the Joy of Reading (and Giving) is much more stronger than the Joy of Carrying Books Back Home (In A Crowded Train).

Do write in, I really look forward to hearing from you! The rules are the same as always, post a comment related to the question I have written above, and the winner will be chosen randomly. Write at least 150 words if possible and add anything else you would like to share with all of us here!

May you win πŸ™‚

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Ankesh Kothari October 2, 2009 at 1:12 am

If the library has a good selection of books – I wouldn’t mind paying more for delivery. But Mumbai libraries = poor collection.

I love bookmooch.com though. Excellent excellent site.

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kunal October 2, 2009 at 2:40 am

wooooooooooooooooooooooooohooooooooooooooo :0 sorry if that dsnt sound literary πŸ™‚ feels it though dosnt it ;0
the best and i mean the best library i have ever seen[ and been to] is in finland.
there al u have to do to borrow books[ and u can borrow neaerly as many as u want]
is to be living in the town/city. thats it. then u can borrow books in almost any quantity as u want. and what a library. i found books i dont find here.and in quantity too. imagine a country that speaks mainly finnish and sweedish having so many books in english. so i borrowed 10 books and was bliss bliss bliss[ to the n th degree]3 floors of books.wow.
coming to ur point, would i like to go to a library [if its 2.5 hrs away , its a no]and get books or would i like them to deliver it to me.
to this i have a question… is everest the tallest mountain? do rivers flow downhill[ and if anyone knows of one that flows uphill, u are not standing upright]
so, YES. send them over man πŸ™‚ what me worry of bad backs, smelly armpits,extremeties stepped on,spat on,sat on …oooof…
send me books man.u can do that surely πŸ™‚

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kunal October 2, 2009 at 2:43 am

i have another problem u know. i like to have books so that i can read them or just go through some pages of them every now and then. so libraries are ok to do a ‘trial run’ as it were. then the book would be nice with me. :)if its really good i get as many copies as i can afford and give them to friends πŸ™‚
two books come to mind which i have bought over a dozon copies each.
man and boy- tony parsons
teachings on love-thich nhat than πŸ™‚
if someone finds man and boy, pls give it or sell it to me. i gave away my last copy[my11th] to someone without realising that i wont see it for the last2 years πŸ™‚

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Priyanka October 2, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I think it is true that for people who are living far off, frequent trips have to be made to the library, simply to renew the books.

Why can’t we have a system of a certain library, such as:
1. You come to the library to become a member, and don’t have to come ever again! Just pay the deposit amount of Rs 2000 (reasonable) and then an exclusive ID created by the library so that only you can browse through the entire catalogue — which should also have reviews, most popular books in a certain genre, news from literary world, etc.
2. Of course the website for the library is open to non-members too — just that they will not be able to entirely browse all sections of the site in detail, but can get a general view of the library through the website.
3. Once you become a member, you have a choice to come and personally collect books, or have someone drop books at your place anywhere in Mumbai for an extra charge of Rs 50 (let’s also be considerate for the poor chap who will carry the books na!)
4. The library, at the very onset, should have ask its would-be members which “scheme” of borrowing books would suit them best — it makes sense for 1 person to take 3 books to be able to return in 3 weeks; for another person taking 12 books, what will be the duration in which he/she can finish reading? So maybe some thoughtful borrowing schemes can be put in place, which can be again custom-made to a significant extent.

This is all that I can think of for now. Damn, as I write about it, I can imagine myself sitting happily in the library and managing the entire site on book, books and more books!

Priyanka πŸ™‚

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Hetal Hariya October 2, 2009 at 4:15 pm

If not delivered, books can, at least, be picked up from your house. That way one does not end up keeping books idle even after one has read them, and they can go back to the library for someone else to borrow.

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Puja October 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Hmmm… Would i want my library to offer home delivery?… Sure! I would. I would . Iwould.

Don’t get me wrong… I love going to the library and I love browsing around and discovering the new additions and the ones with very dog-eared pages and the ones with notes in pencil scribbled at the margins..makes you wonder about the people who must have held the book and read it before you got your chance… .but the whole experience takes a new meaning if I am forced to go just cos I have to return the books knowing that now is not the right time to issue more on my card cos with a busy month ahead they would just be lying around… It is at those times that I feel the whole trip burdens me even more than the burden of the sky and the earth that Atlas has on his shoulder….

If i just want the books to be back in the library isn’t there an easier way to do it than to make a trip to the library…I know that i don’t want them to be with me any longer and I also know that i don’t like people who borrow books from the library and then never seem to want to return them… I mean there are othe people in this world too and they want their chance at reading a particular book as well….so I don’t want to be one of them… and yet who can afford the luxury to go to a library that is so far away that it would take almost half the time out of a precious day to accomplish a task like that….

And , of course , as Ahalya has so rightly pointed out … carrying the books home is a load so heavy…so i have reached the conclusion that to make the whole going to the library experence as heavenly as it ought to be there is just a teeny bit of tweaking that has to be done to the library services…

Here is how it should run…. We go in… We browse… We take ages to choose… We have coffee while taking the immensely important decision on which book to leave out cos you can’t take more than a certain number…We put them in a cart or bag…. We leave this with our library membership number at the counter… We walk out and stroll about and shop and have lunch with friends and update each other on scorchingly hot and scandulous gossip and we finally come home at a liesurely pace and burden free… Meanwhile the Counter Clerk gets the books in our cart/bag sent home through a courier service…. We reach home and there they are… all our chosen books on the table just by our bed… put there lovingly by the same Mom who threatens you with not making your favourite meal anymore cos has to keep reminding you to not read all the time and to especially not do it while lying on the bed…

Well… Its a holiday and have more time than usual to fantasize…but you gotta admit…the whole scene doesn’t sound half as bad…does it;)

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Neha October 2, 2009 at 7:45 pm

I think home-delivery will make more people become members.

For those who love to sit and read in a library, they have the opportunity to, and for those who rather sit at home, they are happy too.

Agree, libraries are few and far away. There should be one in every neighbourhood!

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Vishal October 2, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Yes I’ld greatly appreciate that., books delivery and pickup from the comfort of our homes. No thats not the only reason I’ld appreciate that, but for people like me dwelling in some remote sleepy out of bounds place even a dingy cringy library is a luxury too much to ask for, let alone the library that could lend me 14 books. So my only recourse is online shopping for books but but but yes I’ve to shop for them by paying for them in full.
I’ld greatly welcome any such library willing to deliver and pickup books from my home and am sure there are many more suffering the same fate and hoping for the better.

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Vishal October 2, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Heyy Ahalya, I think that also answers your query, “where do i pick these books from?”
πŸ™‚

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Kripa October 3, 2009 at 12:06 am

No. Absolutely not. How else would I form memories? Of yellowed, crumbling pages. Of the musty smell of brown, old pages. Of fresh, white pages that I’m afraid to touch for fear of soiling it. Of that nervous, excited feeling when I think I might just find a book on the next shelf that I will remember, always.

A catalogue just doesn’t compare.

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admin October 3, 2009 at 12:13 am

Hey Vishal, I am horrified to hear that there is no library around you! You poor soul! But, am I glad you have the internet to keep you supplied with literary material πŸ™‚ I know 14 books sounds rather extravagant, but I tend to stop reading a book if it isn’t ‘nice’, so I usually don’t end up reading all 14 :/ I hope you come back with a review of the book you have won. I will be posting it to you after Sunday πŸ™‚

Neha, I agree with you, “home-delivery will make more people become members”. I would sign up any library that cared that much (and had a good collection). The time taken to commute these days is really crazy! Thanks for writing in!

Puja, loved the long post, thanks πŸ™‚ Yes, I know, I hate people who hoard books, and yet I have had to renew books just because a 5-hr trip was out of the question. So I think we should have some kind of courier system in libraries. Almost everyone has agreed to this, so I think we are on to something πŸ™‚

Dear Hetal, I think you have a point there, though if the library agrees to get a man to pick up the books, they may as well ask him to deliver them too πŸ˜‰

Hey Priyanka, you really make your library work hard huh! Book reviews and news!!! Indeed! Although I would really love it if the library made that effort in keeping the readers happy! It seems you have thought this out in some detail, what with the price list and all, I read it and I think this is a very practical solution, so thank you my dear πŸ™‚

Kunal! Finland is the place to be!!! Did I read your post right? All the books you can take? And three floors!? My my! (You think they will deliver here? πŸ˜‰ ) Sounds like my kind of place! Would love to work in a library like that. By the way, I am hoping you come back with a review of the book you have won. I will be sending it to you after Sunday!

Ankesh, I think Bookmooch has an excellent concept and I think it would be fantastic if we could make it work here! It might work in pockets of the city, but a country-wide effort might require a major rehauling of everything!

I am keeping the comments open, do drop by and share your opinion anytime!

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admin October 3, 2009 at 12:16 am

Kripa, really? You will carry the books home then? Hm… I know what you mean, the browsing is half the fun. And I would never get that lazy that I would never step into a library ever again :/ I guess part of me just loves the idea of ‘receiving’ books at my door πŸ™‚ even if they are books I had chosen at a library where I have a paid membership :/ Silly me :/

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Aditya October 3, 2009 at 10:58 am

Ummm… just answering the question… probably a member of the same library. If it does go online, then I wish a lot of things about the library also goes online… for example, there is this section where you check out what other people have been reading, as well as the store for the books that they are kicking with heavy discounts. But frankly speaking, no, wouldn’t want libraries to go online. I like taking the trouble of having to go to the Library, it’s just that if you are going to take a lot of trouble getting to a Library, you are likely to take a lot of trouble to choose the books that you want to read over the next few days. You just become that much more selective.

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Deepika Mital October 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm

oye….I missed this ‘cos wasn’t online yest – have commented on the seventh post – once again since it is relevant here….TRY Librarywala.com…they deliver home and you can just pick a plan that suits you and the number of books could be unlimited!!! What say?? Yes there is a hitch that they do not have the world’s best collection – but then again they are keen and willing to improve. I have now been a member for 2 years and find it very very convenient.
Yea the conventional library is a great thing to go to – it isn’t just the books – it is also the experience of the hushed atmosphere, craning your neck to find old favourites and new loves. The whole people watching thing – what are they reading…(and judging them by it!! I know , I know, shallow but still..fun )So yes it should go on but yes convenience and time should also be factored in – a huge problem in places like Mumbai.

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Kripa October 3, 2009 at 9:08 pm

You know what? Am still trying to figure out if that reply is laced with the sarcasm.

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Kripa October 3, 2009 at 9:08 pm

You know what? Am still trying to figure out if that reply is laced with sarcasm.

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Kripa October 3, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Don’t ask. It’s your fault. Get a delete button for comments.

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Hetal Hariya October 3, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Yes, but I said what I said, as the ‘at least’ options – just in case you don’t want to forgo the pleasure of browsing, till they start putting out the lights, to politely kick you out at 6 pm.

Maybe, we could go browse, select a list of books, give them the list, and ask that to be delivered – much like what we do at the grocer’s! :p

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