April 29, 2011


I went to the used book store today with a few tomes to sell. Two of the novels had previously been rejected for resale, but I decided to bring them along for a third time in the hope the market had changed. The woman in line ahead of me had a sack of hardbacks, one of them with the same title as a paperback I wished to sell. I watched with dismay as her book was rejected. By the time I reached the counter, I felt shy and half apologized for submitting the title again. The girl at the register, perhaps noting my grey hair, seemed to take pity on me. Paperbacks are in greater demand, she said and I watched with delight as my book disappeared into the resale bin. I left the store with all but one book accepted and $10.50 credit toward any future purchase. 

On my way home, I decided to donate the unsold novel to the library. Stopping at my local branch, a small bungalow the central library has been threatening to close for years, I was welcomed by a librarian. She said a new set of computers had been installed and she was available to help the uninitiated become acquainted with them. My head and heart sank. Not another change, I moaned. Still the librarian looked eager to help so how could I refuse?

(courtesy: UBC.ca)

As she’d promised, the process was easy. What’s more I found two books listed on site that I’d been longing to read; I checked them out under the friendly eye of the librarian.The smile she gave me as I left was almost as wide as mine.  

I descended the stairs and headed to my car, wondering if librarians are genetically coded differently from the rest of us. What a cheerful, wonderful breed they are and always so eager to help. I’ve met snippy retail clerks who could do with their coding. And a few Wall Street bankers could be improved as well. Now that’s a change I could live with.