Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Journaling Part 1

Several weeks ago, I wrote several short thoughts in journal form - and so I don't lose them am posting them....the funny thing is that it isn't a finished piece but it is more than a thought. Hence my need to get them out of my scrap paper file and into a more permanent setting such as this website - and yet really they aren't ready to share. Oh, the joys and burdens of a blog!

Oh, the Chicago Public Library

My life wouldn't be the same without it. Recently, I said, " I really have no business buying books living where I live." I really love CPL and its many branches which are in most of the 77 neighborhoods of Chicago, including 2 within walking distance from my house. The CPL website recently upgraded so that I can have a book at any library sent to my local library through a click of a button.

In a recent article from the Washington Post, the Post shows the true cost of being poor. From paying more at the local grocerer than the 2 mile away superstore to the many costs of living in a "desert" if consumer goods in general, the article illustrates the mix of costs that are not thought of living in lower class neighborhoods.

I have been thinking about this article quite a bit and I thought about while I was driving to the library today. Yes, the library is free and in almost every neighborhood. However, I often wonder if the library really is free to those whose resources are unknown. Such as:

I have been using a daily check on the CPL website to track a book I really want for about 2 weeks. Seeing that in the entire CPL system, 4 copies at 3 libraries existed. I was constantly tracking which library had it in on the shelf and which ones the book was coming due.
Cost: 28 minutes Resource used: internet

Today, needing to return a book that I had finished, I went on my search for the token book and headed to a library in another neighborhood.
Cost: 20 minutes Resource used: car

After looking on the shelf for the book in question and not finding it - I picked out something else and went to check out the books and ask for a "hold and transfer" of the book to my library. The check out lady asked me to talk to the reference librarian. The reference librarian helped me find the book in the system, called a library that had one on the shelf asked for it to be placed on hold for me.
Cost: 30 minutes

I didn't know there where reference librarians at the library. That might sound silly, but I really didn't. She was quite kind, resourceful, and got me exactly what I wanted. I wonder though about the resources that it took me to that reference librarian - do I as a middle class person have the resources (including time) to lead me to this great reference librarian that those cited in the Post article would not have. Probably. Yes, the reference librarian is a free source of information - but I find it fasinating that it took lots of resources to come to this free resource.

Is this another cost of being poor?

To be continued....

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