Sunday, June 29, 2008

Public Library Possibilities, alternately titled, Twenty-Four Euros, Please

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.


Anonymous said...

Kelly would love the library because of the availability of iMacs. Also the fact that it looks like Apple designed it. You might say that she is a bit partial to Apple. She says that the campus library looks the inside of an ipod. Interestingly enough, I would have to agree with her. Of course one can only imagine what the inside of an ipod might look like. The apple tart is definitely worth a trip to the library! Apples seem to dominate.

Ynn said...

You can thank dear old Benjamin Franklin for the idea of a free public library system in the dear old US of A. Ben, a great believer in reading for all, instituted this in Philadelphia. There are, however, still subscription libraries hanging around the US and they are no where near as awesome as that library. At least you can sit and read for free in those beautiful surroundings. Wish I could send photos to the ignorant architect who did my library "renovation" years ago. Bur the apple tart sounds like it's worth the trip!

Anonymous said...

Well, every country can be improved by having a Ben Franklin. A dirty old man, who quotes witticisms, starts revolutions, and promotes turkeys: what could be better. But really, free libraries are cool, but your library is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I see a pentane too! Those are really neat lights.

And yes, I agree that that library seems to have some definite Apple design influence. (As my mom said, my campus library does too, and I have on at least one occasion compared it to what I imagine the inside of an iPod might look like, metaphorically at least.*)

Anyway, very nice library, even though it requires a fee. At least there's delicious breakfast food, though. :)

*In actuality, Macintosh innards are primarily teal.

Mercedes said...

lets make so velvety wallpaper :)