I'd grown up partly in the Boston/New England area and partly in the Philippines. I'd always loved books and when we lived in the US as children we would regularly visit the Newton Public library. The Philippines isn't a wealthy country and when I was growing up we would buy the books we wanted or borrow them from friends or family. I tended spend much of my pocket money on books and when we'd travel abroad, I would spend a large chunk of my spending money on them as well. By the time that I was in my twenties, we had the British Council library, which is a UK international organization that established libraries and various educational and cultural programs to help promote goodwill and cultural exchange. I loved the British Council and learned to drive so that I could go there on my own. In fact, my first regular driving route was from our house to the British Council library, then the supermarket and then home. At that time the British Council library was in a beautiful old house in New Manila, Quezon City. The library later moved to a smaller space in a central business district. They decided to reduce their holdings and sold off most of the literature and social science books. I am still hugely grateful to the British Council for making all those lovely books available for free. To learn more about the British Council's work worldwide, please click here or visit: http://www.britishcouncil.org/new/
The long digression is supposed to explain my admiration and love for the public libraries in the U.S. cities that I've lived these last five years. Here is the list of libraries that I'd gotten to know and love: the Philadelphia Free Library, the Boston Public Library, the New York Public Library, and the Brooklyn Public Library. I can write much more about each of these libraries and various branches of the NYPL, but I'll save that for a post about the best places to find books and to read in NYC.
The main digression about libraries was to explain my enthusiasm for this Support Your Local Library Challenge. Let me summarize the rules laid out in J.Kaye's post (http://j-kaye-book-blog.blogspot.com/2008/11/2009-support-your-local-library.html):
1. Select which level challenge you want: 12 book in 2009 or 25 books in 2009 or 50 books from your local library in 2009. Plan this carefully because you can't switch once you've made your choice.
2. You can join at anytime as long as you don't start reading your books prior to 2009.
3. The challenge is limited to 2009 and the last day to finish all the books is December 31, 2009 in your time zone.
4. You have to go to J.Kaye's Book Blog to sign up using Mr. Linky and list the exact URL with the post of the library books that you intend to read.
5. The books can be audiobooks, downloads, children's books, YA. As long as it is a book, it counts towards the challenge. The format and target age do not matter.
6. Do post a link to your reviews in the comment section of J. Kaye's Book Blog so that the other participants can visit your blog and read your reviews. There is also a Yahoo Groups that you can join and where you can post reviews.
7. There is no need to decide your books ahead of time, you can add or subtract from your list throughout the year. But you can't adjust the number of books.
8. Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or to J.Kaye through commenting at her blog, J.Kaye's Book Blog at http://j-kaye-book-blog.blogspot.com/2008/11/2009-support-your-local-library.html.
I'm signing up for Support Your Local Library Challenge at the 25 book level. I tend to borrow books from both the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library or from several branches of the New York Public Library
My list isn't complete. Here is what I have so far:
The Dragon Scroll by I.J. Parker
A Dog About Town by J.F. Englert
3. Princeps Fury by Jim Butcher
The Sword that Cut Burning Grass by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
In Darkness, Death by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Good Things by Mia King
8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows