I took a greater part of Sunday afternoon to journey back to the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, the awesome library with the apple tarts, in order to more fully explore its awesomeness. Everyone else in Amsterdam must recognize the awesomeness of the library, as it is packed with patrons! Jam-packed!
Main entrance. As you can see, it was quite windy.
I was thinking that it would be awesome to get a library card, check books (in English) out and take them home and read them. Maybe a movie or a CD, who knows? Well... I did a little research online to find out how you get a library card.
The steps to get a library card:
1). Identity document - no problem, I have a passport.
2). Proof of address - easy, I can mail myself a letter from work.
3). Membership fee - what? A fee?
A 24 euro fee! That's like $35!
And I read further - there are lending costs! Books and (oddly enough) sheet music are free. CDs and DVDs are 1-2 euros. Good grief! Patrons are charged a membership fee and then must pay to borrow certain items? How is this possible? I can't afford to pay these paltry fees. I have never heard of such fees - only late fines. Oh, how I miss you, Free Public Library, Proud American Institution!
So, I thought, scope out the English section. Visiting, reading, tart eating, could make a really great afternoon/evening. Minus a registration fee or lending cost. I felt like a genius.
Looking down into the children's and young adult section. Alas, all in Dutch. Observe the molecular-model shaped lighting: I think I see a pentane!
Escalators take you from floor to floor, and there are hundreds of iMacs available for people to use. It almost seems as if Apple had designed the library, as the aesthetics are similar.
I'm off to the engels section.
Alas, the engles section was disappointing. Some books, like Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby, were there. You know, works not just for an age, but for all time. But the complete works of both Austen and Fitzgerald were not present. There was a significant amount of crap. Like the books you can pick up for $2.25 at a WalMart, or worse, Big Lots. So I'm glad I didn't get a library card.
I like books. And these fun chairs. And reading a book, looking out onto a view of Amsterdam.
I'm pictured with a copy of The Secret Garden I was very much looking forward to it. Then I quickly realized that it was The Abridged for Idiots Version of The Secret Garden. "Mary was a little girl who was born in India. Her father was in the army. Her mother liked to go to parties. Mary had a nanny who looked after her." Who makes a shortened version of a children's book? Boo. I ended up reading The Nanny Diaries, which was okay. I think most future visits to the library will involve only eating apple tarts, at least until their English-Language librarian decides to get some good books on the shelves.