I always felt, in any town if you can get to a library, I’ll be OK.
PSA: Libraries are dope. Getting a library card doesn’t even require leaving the house and you can use it 100% online if you’re not a physical book rocker. Here are links to sign up online in PDX and TUS.
I put my library’s app on my phone. When I hear of a book or person I want to know more about, I do a quick search and in less than a minute I have a few of their books on hold.
Days or even months later, I get an email about a book that’s waiting for me to pick up.
Eventually, this book is sitting on my shelf. I might not start reading it right away, but it’s there, and when the timing right I might discover something.
This just happened with The Gift by Lewis Hyde. I have no idea why or when I put it on hold. I think it was a blog post from someone I dig referencing it as part of their path. I got an email from the library and cruised up to pick up whatever they had for me. Turns out it’s a prolific work on creativity written in the early ’80s.
The timing is perfect. I’m at my best when reading 2 books: 1 fiction or memoir (usually read at night), and 1 on the uplifting, creative, self-help, self-hype tip (typically read in the morning). I’ve been lacking a good hype read and am already feeling and seeing the benefits 2 days in.
Sometimes my holds go unread before the library wants them back. All good, wasn’t the right time. Usually, I find the space to check them out and get a dose of unknown hype thanks to that convo with a friend, podcast, article, post, tweet, or the other millions of ways we hear about cool stuff to peep.
Just started this process with adrienne maree brown who I’m totally OK admitting I only recently learned about. Her stuff is pretty sought after so I’m like hold #50 but that’s fine. I’m in line to receive her greatness.
I’m practicing stopping pretending I know about someone or feeling like I should have read their stuff years ago, sitting quietly when their name comes up. This attitude is mega-defeating, on the inside and to any progress. It’s the simple fear of asking, “Who’s that?”
Nowadays I try to ask this question openly and add something from their collection to my library holds to learn more. We can’t know what we don’t know. And this is one way to keep learning and growing as adults not forced to by work or school.
There’s no bad day to discover Wu-Tang.
“The hardest part of self-education is that there are no external rewards or structures,” writes William Upski Wimsatt in A Gourmet Guide to Self-Education from his 2nd book No More Prisons, “You must accept the responsibility that you are the student, the principal, and the superintendent.”
Upski Wimsatt goes on to share 19 ways to self-educate including keeping reading lists, setting goals, and ditching the guilt and fear tasked with holding us back from discovering new ideas.
I just love y’all and love sharing anything that might add even a touch of inspo to your already amazing brains and hearts. Writing this as a reminder to myself to keep listening, learning, and growing. If any of this helps or if you know of something I should put on hold, holler!
PS: More library nerding 🤓
Your new or dusted-off library card also gives you free access to stream movies on Kanopy and download audiobooks, ebooks, and access all the big newspapers and magazines with the app Libby. A solid F-you to Amazon and other companies basically repackaging and selling the library’s forever-model.
Bonus: A friend who visited recently didn’t love the Libby selection when signed via the library in her small-ish city so she loaded her old Portland library card to the app and uses that for her digital stuff. Libby is kind of a blank slate and just shows you the digital stacks of whatever library you plug into it, so her selection grew instantly.