I love a good story about books and libraries, and this book did not disappoint. The main character, Nina, has just found out that the small library she has worked at for many years is being closed, and its collection is being merged into a larger library. Unfortunately, only a few positions from the branch library will carry over to the large library. Nina finds herself competing with younger librarians who are more in sync with the direction of modern libraries. Her longtime co-worker Griffin commiserates with Nina:
“Have you seen the plans? Coffee, computers, DVDs, plants, admin offices, and people doing cost-benefit analysis and harassing the unemployed – sorry, running mindfulness workshops. There isn’t room for a book in the whole damn place.” He gestured at the dozens of boxes. “This will be landfill. They’ll use it to make roads.” (excerpt from page 5)
The choice for Nina and Griffin is to either throw themselves into the new model for libraries, or stick with the classic focus on books in the library. Griffin pretends to like the new model, and manages to snag one of the few positions available at the large library. Nina, on the other hand, just cannot bring herself to favor DVDs, computer classes, and social programs at the library over books and reading. Not surprisingly, she finds herself without a job.
What do you do when your job is suddenly gone, and you’re not sure what to do with your life? I love what Nina says on page 1 of this book:
The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things. It would be lovely, wouldn’t it, whenever you’re going through something difficult, if someone could just tap you on the shoulder and say, “Don’t worry, it’s completely worth it. It seems like absolutely horrible crap now, but I promise it will all come good in the end…”
Nina makes the choice to go out on a limb, and pursue her dream of having her own bookstore. She has to make some sacrifices, but it’s worth the effort. In the end, Griffin is unhappy with the choice he made, while Nina is having the time of her life.
I loved the way this book encouraged the reader to follow his or her dreams. In real life, your dreams don’t always work out as neatly as the fictional character Nina’s, but it’s still something to aspire to.