I had 7 library books in my apartment yesterday, including 3 I had read completely, cover to cover, 2 I was only halfway finished reading, and 2 I had not even opened yet. And, there was a notice in my email that they were due. I’d already renewed them all, twice, so there was no escaping it- I had to give the books back. I agonized over having a 2 day marathon and reading the rest, going without sleep and doing nothing else but read till they were done. As a kid that is exactly what I would have done. But, I’m not a kid any more, and all-nighters, even for a good cause like finishing library books, are now a brutal reminder that I am a grownup.
Today I have 9 library books in my apartment, so yes, I did go to the library yesterday, and return all my library books.
I felt awful about returning those 2 books I hadn’t even opened, books that had languished unloved (well, not loved enough to be read yet) for a month and a half while I read other things and wrote blog posts and watched mystery shows on youtube. The two I was only partway done with, I had at least read far enough to know what they were about, and in fact I already wrote a review on one of them, because I was that close to done.
Since I went to the big downtown main library this time, I at least had the pleasure of using their fancy new conveyor-belt return window to return my books, plopping them one at a time through the slot so that their motion or impact on the conveyor belt inside made the belt start moving, carrying the books in to where they would be sorted and returned to their shelves. I haven’t used liraries with this system before, so that part was fun, but I still felt so guilty knowing I had not read all of the books I checked out!
The guilt lingered long after I left the return window, a little voice reminding me with each step that I should have read those 4 books I returned prematurely. So, I promptly picked out a new stack, 9 new books to read, and this time I will read them all, maybe even before I would need to renew them. The first of those books is at my elbow now, and the rest are propped proudly next to my computer, a wall of pretty library book spines that will remind me every day to read them, before they are due.