Thursday, October 16, 2008

Check it Out

On a quiet little side street in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, there's a place that's become as much a part of our life in Paris as a trip to the neighborhood boulangerie. At first glance, the American Library in Paris is a little musty, dim, and worn around the edges. And at first, the annual subscription fee of 155 euros also seemed a bit over the top. But, having just renewed our membership for another year, I can honestly say it's worth every centime, particularly for a family of voracious readers like ours. I've been able to indulge a reading habit that had grown rusty in the years when I was juggling work and a growing family. The travel section and the cookbook aisle have kept me from spending a small fortune. And the children's librarian really knows how to talk with kids about books. In her jeans and Converse sneakers, she looks nothing like Miss Betts, the gray-haired lady in spectacles who presided over the children's room at the Atlanta Public Library's Highland branch where I got my first library card, but she has the same warmth and sparkle. Plus, when she couldn't locate a book my nine year old was looking for, she wrote down the title and author and within a matter of weeks, the book had been purchased and was ready to be checked out.

There's no chance that we'll exhaust the library's offerings during our time here, and the number of books on my "to read" list keeps growing. Just added: anything by new Nobel laureate J.M.G. Le Clézio which I noticed on display (in English translation) when I was in the checkout line last weekend. I just have to finish the books already piled up on my nightstand plus four or five back issues of The New Yorker before I can take that on.


Anonymous said...

The Atlanta Public Library Highland branch is sadly no more... but where I got my voter's registration card when I first moved here in 1986.
Highland Ave. looks pretty much the same as it did over on that end of it... but if you haven't been here lately, you won't recognize the other end as it nears downtown.

Anne said...

Thanks for the update. The last time I was in Atlanta was 2004; but the last time I was at the Highland Branch was probably around 1980! Where did the time go?

jonnifer said...

I have been considering signing up for this. I checked out their online catalog and they had all these random marketing books I was looking for. Pretty impressive. My main hestitation is that I won't use it as much as I think, or that it will keep me from reading in French.

Ah, the New Yorker. Its slogan should be The best magazine you will never ever ever catch up on!

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