I’m quite a fan of libraries. Especially since the Kew library is only a ten minute walk away. Even on wet and cold days, I can make that trek relatively unscathed and unsweaty. Libraries are warm and wholesome places – good for the soul.

However, a strange sort of greed overcomes me at the library.

Yesterday I went in to pick up a book I’d had a reservation on (Lark and Termite by Jane Anne Phillips), and to print some school work.

“Ten minutes,” thought I, “and I’ll be out of here.”

I picked up my reservation. I printed my work.

Then I thought I’d check for any books relevant to my current school work. I came out with Borges: A Life by Edwin Williamson, and Borges on Writing by Giovanni, Halpern & MacShane (eds). While one of these books might be handy, there is no reasonable way that I will get all my school reading done plus a biography, plus a collection of short stories, plus a book of interviews, plus some fiction book I picked up last week…all in the next three-ish weeks before the due date.

Libraries do this to me though. I get in there and the fever overcomes me. I see a book and panic that it won’t be there when I come back… This is ridiculous of course; it’s a library, the books will always come back and I’ll get a chance to read it when I actually do have time.

It’s almost like an ownership thing, only I’m well aware that borrowing a book doesn’t constitute ownership. Perhaps it’s my reading anxiety at work again, trying to get as much in as possible, even if it’s an unreasonable amount.

My library isn’t helpful in this matter either. They have lovely displays of “featured books”; themes and new acquisitions which take on a certain importance and urgency. I tried taking a smaller bag yesterday, but my library even provides free bags… I’m running out of ideas. Reason simply doesn’t suffice. My library-mind is a reasonless grab frenzy.

Is anyone else out there suffering from this curse?