Did you know that a place exists where you can borrow tons of stuff for FREE—any time you want, all year round?

This place I speak of welcomes everyone with open arms. There’s one in every community and it’s never far from home. Despite the many riches that this place has to offer, I can’t imagine a resource that’s more under-utilized by just about every adult I know.

This place is your local public library. It’s quite an amazing place, where anyone can walk in and borrow all types of books, magazines, movies, music and more…AT NO CHARGE. Where in the world can you get anything 100% free anymore, much less a massive assortment of stuff that feeds your brain and entertains you?

You only read electronic books? Well guess what—your local library offers thousands of eBooks, electronic magazines and other periodicals that you can download without leaving your house. And did I mention that it’s all FREE?! These days I download all my books and magazines electronically to my KOBO eReader simply by logging onto my library’s database and clicking on whatever I feel like reading. You can borrow electronic books from your library no matter where in the world you happen to be; all you need is access to a computer and your library card number. It’s insane!

What’s even more insane is that I know so many people who don’t bother to explore the goldmine of resources in these taxpayer-funded facilities. (So technically, it’s not truly free. You ARE paying for it whether you want to or not. So why not use it?!)

My community library has always been my favourite place in the world—my deepest gratitude to the Mesopotamians who developed the first libraries back in 2600 BC. And to my dad, who introduced me to the joys of library membership when I was knee high to a grasshopper. Here’s my story.

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The Library

My earliest memories of my father include the tower of books that he had stacked neatly beside his chair, one always resting open on his lap.

I inherited his great love for books before I could do much more than “read” the pictures. It wasn’t long before he began taking me with him on Saturday morning outings to a place that felt as warm and welcoming as home—a place where I could see row upon row of books no matter which direction I faced.

Dad’s eyes sparkled the first time he explained that this was our community library and I was allowed to borrow as many books as I fancied. He couldn’t have made me any happier had he handed me a bag loaded with sweets. The library was my candy store.

After leading me to the children’s section, dad would wander off to search for treasures of his own. The books with the most colourful spines would be first to attract my attention. Selecting one at a time, I’d page through, reading each word aloud while my mind soaked up the vibrant images. So many stories captured my imagination and lured me into dazzling worlds—where forest animals shared afternoon tea in jewel-toned dresses and feathered caps, where wizards hurled thunderbolts from magic wands and evil trolls always got their comeuppance, where handsome princes on white stallions rescued beautiful princesses in glittering ball gowns. And of course, where everyone lived happily ever after.

It always seemed to me that we’d only just arrived when dad would reappear from behind a shelf, cradling an armload of his own selections and announcing that it was time for us to go home. How difficult it was to decide which books to take with me when there were so many to choose from! I wanted to read them all.

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Decades later, books are still my eye in the hurricane of life. The love of reading that my dad instilled in me as a little girl is the most precious gift I have ever received, one that I will be able to treasure long after he’s gone.

No matter how the world changes around me, the library remains a significant part of my life. Where else can one go and be surrounded by volume after volume on every topic imaginable, to enjoy armchair journeys into worlds so different from our own and that we may never otherwise have a chance to experience? Aside from the air we breathe, not much worth having today is still free—except at the library. And it’s been that way for as far back as libraries have existed in our communities.

As a child the public library was a magical place and it still feels that way to me today.

How wonderful that some things never change.

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The incalculable value of keeping an eReader in your pocket or purse at all times—especially at this time of year

You’re standing in line at the supermarket.

It’s a v-e-r-y l-o-n-g line.

Every second person ahead of you needs a price check.

Or they have armloads of flyers that they want to show to the cashier for price guarantee comparisons.

Or they’re v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y reaching into their cart and v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y placing one item at a time onto the conveyor belt, and you’re beginning to wish you had a taser gun in your hand to prompt them to get their ass moving…

Your teeth are clenching…

Now they’re grinding and little bits of enamel are flying every which way…

Now they’re gnashing back and forth—foam is bubbling up from the corners of your mouth and your eyes are glowing like firepit coals…

Did you know that on average, we each spend an estimated 45 to 62 minutes waiting for something every day: waiting in lines, waiting in medical offices, waiting for employee assistance in stores, and so on. In general, we are destined to waste no less than five years of our life…waiting.

You are sitting in your doctor’s waiting room. You booked your time slot two months ago and expected to be taken within minutes of entering the door, especially since you were considerate enough to arrive 15 minutes early for your 3:00 appointment. It is now 4:10, and there are still six people waiting ahead of you. Your skin is turning a rich shade of claret and your ears are venting what appears to be smoke. Doctor is going to have a lot more to do than just weigh you and tell you to say “ahh” because you are seriously on the verge of gnawing off your limbs…

We wait for deliveries, for our electronic devices to boot up, for humans to answer their phones, for contractors to show up and start the job, for our hairstyling appointments, for bank tellers, for arrivals and departures at airports, for public transit, for parking spots, for restaurant seating, for commercials to end, for entertainment to start, for people who are late, for the microwave to beep, for the UPS guy, for just about EVERY EFFING THING IN OUR CONFOUNDED LIVES!

You need to ask the post office a quick question about a parcel you’d like to send to a friend across the pond. You’ve already spent half the morning trying to locate answers on their website, to no avail. So you decide to throw in the towel and give them a call. You’ve been listening to canned music now for 35 minutes and you don’t think you’ll ever be able to untwist your neck from its current position. If drywall wasn’t so freaking expensive these days, you would punch a goddam hole in the wall…

Has my suggestion for carrying an eReader around at all times become an “Aha!” moment for you?

I can assure you that time spent with your eReader while you wait is the healthiest choice you can make, especially when the only other alternative is high blood pressure and/or a possible life sentence in prison for murder.

With your eReader charged up and ready to go at all times, you will not only be the only person in lineup hell who is smiling and relaxed in posture, you’ll also be the only person in line whose brain cells are getting in a nice little yoga workout instead of atrophying like the moron ahead of you who’s holding up the line while they fight with the cashier over a price comparison between two brands that aren’t remotely related. You won’t even notice the little old lady who’s counting out her $40 balance in nickels.

My Kobo Arc has added many years to my lifespan. It’s my fountain of youth.
I so heart my Kobo Arc!

Crochet a cute clutch for your eReader

bag_clutch cath wheel purple & mint2 copyIf I’m going to carry my Arc everywhere I go, I want to keep it protected from scratches and bumps. I found this free clutch pattern, called the Easy Paolo Purse at the wonderful FaveCrafts site: http://www.favecrafts.com/Crochet-Bags/Easy-Paolo-Purse.

It was my first attempt at the Catherine wheel design and I found it to be very easy to follow and fun to do. I also love how the pattern makes the colours pop! I used purple, mint green, and cream, but it would look lovely with just about any combination of colours. And it fits my Arc like a glove.

bag_clutch cath wheel purple & mint1 copy

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