A few months ago my mother visited for an extended period and asked about going to the local library. I flippantly replied "yeah, it's called Borders - just up the road".
Now, this was only partly in jest, I have spent many enjoyable afternoons at Borders with my daughter reading her all the books she wanted before she chose one to take home. So it has been my daughter's library "sort of".
Last weekend I decided that now my daughter is 3 and starting to read on her own, she should really begin to use a proper library. I was sure she would love going there with my visions filled of the many hours I had spent at a local library as a child. Open spaces with cushions in which to lie down reading piles of books or curled up in a comfy chair with my head down and my parents having to "find" me. So, with high hopes, we set of the visit the main library on Saturday afternoon.
Ha! I am sooo glad I did tell my mother to go to Borders. The Palo Alto main library is an embarrassment. I couldn't finish reading the books to my daughter due to the smell of vomit wafting off them. Let alone finding books - you would have thought they would at least be organized by age. And where are the updated children's books?
Trying to squash into bamboo chairs to read together. Even the outside section (where we moved to get away from the smell) only has 2 tables in it! So, you're left standing or sitting on concrete.
I'd forgotten how the whole place has a closed in feel about it. With a large reference section that I couldn't see anyone use (why not just free up all this space and add more computer access?). I know that they are re-building the children's library but even the adult section just doesn't invite you to browse and stay.
We are really in a sorry state when I would prefer my daughter to spend her afternoons at a local book store than at the "best" library Palo Alto can provide.