A New Chapter: Turn The Page

It would do most of us a little good to spend some time at the library. No, I don’t mean Bailey-Howe. I’m sure everyone spends plenty of time using their computer terminals, sipping hot toddies in the Cyber Caf?© and making out in the stacks. No, I’m talking about the kind of library you probably haven’t visited in years. Your local public library, the Fletcher Free Library down on College street across from the Roxy movie theater. Do yourself a favor and the next time you have a free hour or two, take a stroll down the hill and check it out.

The library has several things to offer, only one of which is books. They have a ton of current magazines. (By a ton I mean at least 40 or 50 different ones, not necessarily 2,000 pounds of glossy pages). You can check out the latest Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Utne Reader or Playboy, all without paying a cent. They have daily newspapers, though no weekend editions, from Burlington and several other Vermont towns, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. And you can read all of these on lovely grey couches, something Bailey-Howe doesn’t have, unless they’re hiding things from me. All right, so they don’t actually carry Playboy. Also, with a library card you can rent videos or DVDs for free, which is quite a bit cheaper than Waterfront or Blockbuster, though the selection is somewhat limited.

Really, though, the books are a pretty big chunk of the reason you’d visit the library, and there are in fact a whole lot of books in the Fletcher Free Library. Not as many as we have on campus, but having looked through both libraries, I’d much rather spend some time with Fletcher’s books. I mean, does Bailey-Howe have Bo knows Bo? (I can honestly say that this was the first book I checked out after getting my card). When was the last time you read a book for fun?

Another benefit is the librarians. Now, I have nothing against the students doing their jobs behind the desks at the B-H. But it’s nice to have someone who’s a librarian as a career check out your books instead of someone who’s a librarian as a way to earn drinking money.

Now, if you live in the dorms, I’m afraid that you’re at a distinct disadvantage here. To get a library card for free you need to be able to prove that you’re a Burlington tax-payer or renter. If you live off campus, all you need to do is show them a bill for any utility, personal check with that address or a copy of your lease, and you get a free, three-year library card. However, as the University of Vermont does not pay taxes to the city of Burlington, anyone who lives in the dorms has to shell out $25 for a one-year card.

So next time you’re bored, take a little walk down to the public library, get yourself a card, maybe look through a magazine or two, check out the toilets without doors on the stalls (according to signs there have been some theft problems, but it’s a tad odd to find this out on the way to a much needed pit-stop…), and then do yourself a favor and check out Bo Knows Bo.