The free street libraries are one of the best things in our cityscape.
There are treasures to be found, books I’ve always wanted to read, authors I’ve heard about, books that look interesting, and all for the taking! Then of course, it’s wonderful to be able to clear out our own bookshelves and give old books a new life by “returning” books to a library.
I’m in the business of making and therefore selling books, but I am delighted by the proliferation of free books. I have managed to curb my initial enthusiasm of “it’s up for grabs, seize the day” in an effort to prevent stockpiling.
Most street libraries have at least two shelves, some even have compartments and categories, books for children and books for adults. The library called “Free French Books” has at least four well stacked shelves. Book for adults seem to be just that, not as in “adult fiction”, “adult movies”, expressions which seem to mean pornography. When I see libraries labelled with more than three sections, such as fiction, travel, cooking, youth, I think, OMG they’ll be using the Dewy system soon!
I have begun to notice the architecture of street libraries. They imitate other city buildings, and a plain square box, which might be adequate, is rare. Most libraries have arched rooves, and indeed, they have to let the rain fall down and away, just like a house. Some are old and the wood is cracking, the paint is chipped, the doors have fallen off. Some are free standing, others, I suppose you might say, semi-detached. By far the most beautiful local one glitters with its polished wood and even has a miniature staircase, also in wood. Somehow it reminds me of the old wooden houses in Michoacán, Mexico, called trojes. And anything that takes me off today’s suburban street to the beautiful (though troubled) lands of Michoacán is very welcome, so that particular street library has tripled in value.
Riverton Press has not placed any of its publications in these libraries and is still open for business to sell you our books. Plans for new editions are also being slowly cooked.