Is there anything more satisfying than reading by the fire?
If there's one thing I love almost as much as I love a good fire, it's a good book to read while I warm my toes. Many a morning, and many a late night I can be found in my favorite armchair, a hardback biography or paperback novel open on my lap, my stocking feet perched on the ottoman a couple yards from the hearth. The sound of crackling logs brings the words on the page that much more to life.
Of course, being such an avid reader, I'm also a big supporter of the public library. Sure, I buy my share of books at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon, and at least once a month I peruse the secondhand shoppes for out-of-print titles and good deals, but if it weren't for my local library I'd probably go bankrupt. When I hit the shelves I can sometimes pull down fifteen or twenty books in five minutes.
The only problem I've ever had with my library is the library itself -- in other words, the building. Oh, it's nice enough, with high ceilings, plate glass windows all the way up and enough computer stations to run the entire North American division of Google. My problem is that it isn't the kind of place I want to hang around and read after I've raided the shelves. Most of the time, I can't get home fast enough. After all, my armchair is waiting.
It makes you wonder why more libraries don't offer programs like they do in Marblehead, Massachusetts, where once a week the librarians fire up the hearth and invite patrons to sit back and relax, right there among the stacks. There's no picture in the article I found, but considering the town's name, I envision a classic marble fireplace, perhaps retrofitted with state-of-the-art fireplace doors to keep the sparks from jumping out and catching the collections on fire. It's a pretty good idea, don't you think? I mean, I wouldn't automatically trade in my favorite chair, but I can guarantee you I wouldn't be in as much of a hurry to get home.