“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another.”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley
Yesterday I posted on facebook that I had completed my two hours at the Hoover Library. My brother commented by asking, “What did you do to warrant community service hours?” I replied that is was a voluntary incarceration.
Let me explain. I have found that by going to the library, and sitting myself down in the Quiet Study area, I can allow myself to focus on writing this book that has been in and out of the works for about five years. I am determined to get to the end. Then I’ll begin the editing and revision process, which I actually like to do. And I will finish it. Then I will move on to trying to get it published.
This is the summer to get ‘er done.
Today we enjoyed a trip downtown. First we went back to Pepper Place, our first trip this season. There I bought some Strawberry Preserves from Jim Suttle of Mountain Meadows Farms. As an organic farmer, Mr. Suttle knows how to “make lemonade out of lemons”. He uses no pesticides, so when this year’s strawberry crop had problems because of the excess rain, he salvaged some of the berries to make preserves. I then visited Red Rubin Nursery where I got a Chocolate Mint plant and some advice on how to keep it alive.
After a few more purchases, we went on the Magic City Art Connection at Linn Park. There we found a huge selection of art for every taste. Some favorite artists were Marcus Ryan, Walt Stricklin, and Rick & Linda Bachman, Sarah Bean and Julie Schwarz.
Out last stop was the Birmingham Public Library where we happily stumbled upon a book sale! I got two: Once there Was a War by John Steinbeck and The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes which held a sweet surprise – a letter to someone named Sarah. I love when I fall upon such treasures. I once found a baptismal certificate and a photograph from the 1940s in a book I bought at a different library’s sale.
The rain held off while we were out, so all in all it was a good day!
To say I was impressed with the Hoover Public Library would be an understatement. Before I moved to Birmingham I had a library card in two counties, both Duval and St. Johns, but I can say I think Hoover has them both beat.
In Duval County (Jacksonville) the main library downtown was huge and beautiful, but not so convenient. Some of you other Jax transplants may be familiar with it. That is one difference – the convenience. Another is the staff. I was helped by Mary and another employee at the front desk in Hoover. They were both helpful and friendly. Getting my card was easy (so much easier than getting that driver’s license!) and then Mary gave me a brief overview of where things were located. They graciously called a boss to be sure I had permission to take photos as I explored. Even in my favorite little library near my home in St. Johns County I never was met with such southern hospitality.
The layout of the library makes it super easy to find what you’re looking for. The video and music selection is quite large. Audio books are also available, some of which can even be downloaded.
The large Kidzone was very child friendly and even had a fenced outdoor play area. The Teen Spot was a perfect place for study or hanging out. For those who need a hushed place for study there is a Quiet Study area.
The Friends Bookstore, staffed by Friends of the Hover Library, and Coffe-ol-ogy Café are two places I plan to check out more thoroughly on my next visit.
The library has a full schedule of activities and events for all ages, from storytime for those three and under to the Battle of the Bands for the teens to numerous book groups for adults. There are also author presentations and musical events as well.
Some unique features that wowed me:
- The “Cone of Silence” – a futuristic-looking booth that patrons can step inside if they need to use their cell phone
- Book Club Kits- including multiple copies of the book – that can be checked out for six weeks
- To make checkout easy, there are self-check kiosks scattered around the building.
- An online “email a librarian” feature
- Nooks available for checkout
- Laptops that can be checked out for use within the library
- Headphones are sold for $2 and Flash Drives for $5 at the service desk
- The Library Theatre – a venue that hosts World-Class entertainment
Municipal Dr, Hoover, AL 35216