Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's Over

Yesterday was the day. March 14. The County of Los Angeles has cut off the Valencia, Newhall and Canyon Country libraries from the other branches in the library system. Whatever I put on hold now has to be available at those particular branches or I'm sunk.

I've lost most of Quentin Crisp's books, save for the one or two at my Valencia library. Ditto for Bukowski, though the loss is far more wide-ranging, considering that the only Bukowski book I recall being readily available at Valencia was his last one, his novel "Pulp." I recall a copy of "Post Office" being next to it, but I haven't seen it in a while and I'm not even sure if it's still available at that branch. I don't need it anyway, since I have my own copy, but all those books of his poetry are truly a grievous loss. I still would have liked to have them all available so I could go back to the ones I don't have, but don't feel a surging need to own.

I've also lost "Lawnboy" by Paul Lisicky, and I remember the copy from the West Hollywood branch that I checked out often. I hope someone else gives it the same attention I did.

All the books that I checked out on Saturday from other branches, I now feel more compelled to read than I did before. I've checked out "Best Food Writing 2000" twice before. I'm now on page 124. And I know that I'd better get to those books related to my presidential research. Otherwise, I'll end up denting my savings account again beyond the dents that have already been made for my own utter pleasure.

I've never had to be so focused on particular library branches. In Pembroke Pines, Florida, at that library, I remember a cart being brought out with a few of my holds on it, mostly movies from other libraries, and I didn't even think to see which libraries they came from. I wanted to see those movies and that's all that mattered to me.

But now, I can't just search for a title and immediately put it on hold. I have to actually look at the listings, to see if hopefully one of those three branches has it. I think this will also lead to me looking in the folder I have here in the bookmarks in Internet Explorer with links to so many books listed on Amazon and other sites. For pleasure reading, I'm going to have to go through those to see what I really want to read and hope that I can get it.

The City of Santa Clarita has spent $1 million dollars to create this new library system. They're going to borrow $8 million dollars to pay for "buying buildings and materials", according to the article on The Signal website (http://www.the-signal.com/section/36/article/41837). And now it's said that it could take a decade to pay it all back. The City is also paying a private company, LSSI, $1.3 million to operate the libraries in the first year.

We would have been better off remaining with the County of Los Angeles. This much money would not have been wasted and we would have remained connected to the County, which is far more important than this unnecessary isolationism just so the City Council can feel more powerful. A City Council whose members do not have library cards. Figure that out.

One thing's for sure: Don't even think about trying to get a new book a month or so after it comes out. That holds list is going to be a lot longer for the latest releases and take a lot more time. I'm lucky I'm more interested in the distant past than the present.

In other book-related news, while reading "Best Food Writing 2000", I was suddenly seized with the need to write, and I grabbed one of my yellow legal pads, and wrote two pages of what I think might be the beginning of my novel. I haven't done any significant research for it yet, but I know the basic story, and I know the style I want for it, and I've had a lot of experience on my own with the subject matter, so I just began writing. It reads well, and I know it might not fit (I've already noticed one detail that makes me question the logic of it), but it's a proper start.