Note: "Russell's Ken-Bun-Ki" is a series of articles I wrote for my Japanese City Hall newsletter back in 1996-97. They were articles about life in America or life in Japan as experienced by an American. This one is from February 27, 1997.
Last week I wrote about my hobbies. This week I want to continue on that theme; about a happy discovery I have made.
A few years ago the Miyazaki Prefectural Library was built. It's a beautiful building, but this past November was the first time I had ever visited it. This is because from the time it opened I just assumed that there would be no English books. However, last November my wife went there to find a specific novel, so we went as a family and walked around inside. That is when I realized with surprise the high number of English books that they did have! I got a library card immediately and borrowed two books that day.
I have loved books since I was a child. I remember well my father reading me bedtime stories. In elementary school I can remember reading famous books like Tom Sawyer and The Three Musketeers. I remember in junior high school one of our punishments when we misbehaved as a class was to have to copy over the dictionary into our notebooks. To me, this wasn't a punishment at all.
Why do I love books so much? I think it's because books open doors to other worlds. What type of world was 1963 America? Read a book about the Kennedy assassination and you can get a small idea of the answer. What kind of trouble would people have trying to live in space? Read an SF novel and you can get a small imagination of what it might be like. Books are my interesting friends. So when I found out that the Prefectural Library had English books, I was very very happy.
Please, visit the Aya Town Library. If you can't find the book you are looking for, ask one of the staff members for help. They can communicate with the Prefectural Library and if that Library has the book you want, they can get it to you and you can borrow it for free! I'll see you at the library!
One of the first books I borrowed was CASE CLOSED by Gerald Posner about the Kennedy assassination, which is why I referenced that in this column.
I lucked out when I moved back to the States where libraries are concerned; in Portland, Indiana Jay County's Library is *awesome.* When I first moved there my then-boss said that the library had just been rebuilt but that he had never been inside. Needless to say, I went often. Now that I live in Columbus, I'm even happier. Columbus Metropolitan Library has been called the best in the nation. Similar to the Miyazaki network, I can request a book that exists anywhere in the state of Ohio and then pick it up at my neighborhood library a few days later. I love it!
If you are not using your neighborhood library, you are missing out on a lot of free resources. Not only do they have books (duh!) but most libraries now have CDs, DVDs, and Graphic Novels. Stop by your local library; I promise you, you won't be disappointed.