Just a thought… Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. [Mark Twain]
Well here’s one for the books: a library in an airport! If you know me, you’re familiar with the fact that I have been in a lot of them in the past year (er, that’s airports, not libraries). Thanks to jobs with the Canadian Real Estate Association, welcome visits back to Toronto to emcee events and, of course, our trips to Ottawa to be with four-year-old Colin, I’m gradually getting to know the ins and outs of some of this country’s terminals pretty well.
So it came as a complete surprise when last November I was sitting in the Halifax airport awaiting my flight west, and I heard a big “Clunk!” over my shoulder. I jumped, wondering what someone had just chucked into the recycling. Then I turned to see this:
I’ve noticed a lot of things in airports – from a player grand piano and clear plexiglass lockers (in Istanbul), to miniature spas, full (and over-sized) art installations and live musicians entertaining weary wanderers. But I’ve never seen library facilities.
It turns out that, not only can you drop off your books here, you can also borrow them!
If you have a Halifax Public Libraries card, you can grab a book here before you go. There are children’s as well as adults’ books (and why does the adjective “adult” mean something completely different when it comes to movies?) with titles that they hope will entice everyone to borrow as they go.
The idea is to take libraries out of the brick-and-mortar past and present, and move them into places where people on the go can also take advantage of them. In some cases, a person who might have borrowed a book, and will be away when it comes due, can simply drop it off as they await their flight (or in a kiosk closer to the entrance/exit of the airport). Or you simply choose something you want to read on your way out of Stanfield International Airport and return it upon arrival. Brilliant, yes?
As much as individual book sales numbers are interesting to watch, I love hearing that libraries are ordering Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy (HarperCollins Feb. 26) and sometimes when I’m walking through airports, I do some positive envisioning: I see my book sitting in the store for travellers in search of a read.
But this? What an amazing idea! Well done, Halifax Public Libraries. Just another way to make more books available to more people: what the world needs now!
By the way, I got the great news yesterday that our book is already in reprint (I’m not sure how that’s different from a second edition, but it’s good news, I’m told). And here’s a link to a story CBC did about those book kiosks in the Halifax airport. Think we could ever do this in other Canadian terminals?