little_tristan: (Book Reading)
[personal profile] little_tristan
I've thought about this a lot and it's the best answer. Bookstores have to be busy and profitable, and librarians are bound by all sorts of actual laws and bullshit local politics. I wouldn't be good at either of those things.

But if we were rich and could afford to run a business at a loss (or arrange it as a proper tax shelter), I'd run a private library. It would start with my books, of course. Most of them would be available to check out but a few would be for reading on the premises only. The antiques and the ones that are already falling apart. Some would be in display cases and not touched at all.

Really, it would be a book club. Not like a group reading the same book book club. A club of book people. Like a wine club, or the reading room of a country club. There would be yearly dues collected to buy new books and replace lost or damaged books. But I'd screen the members carefully and try not to take any who would lose/steal/damage my books. Repeat offenders would be kicked out.

It wouldn't replace the public library, where they have ten of thousands of books and millions more available through the CCRLS system. It'd be more the kind of place you'd go after you hit the public library to read your new books without the distraction of a hundred people going in and out. The furniture would be comfortable, the lighting plentiful but understated, and there might be a fireplace with a dignified painting over it.

Also, as a private entity, I could probably have resident animals without all the legal hassles that public businesses deal with. But it would be ridiculously accessible. The restroom would be huge and there would always be a very polite and dignified employee to see that everyone's needs were met. A library butler.

There would also be a room that members could reserve for private book clubs or writing workshops, whatever they needed a space for. So long as it was quiet and related to the purpose of the club.

The club might sponsor a discussion group or have guest writers visit, but I'm not sure. Perhaps once there was a certain number of members we would vote on that. I'd consider one discussion meeting a month and one or two guest speakers a year.

I like going to those things sometimes, but it also seems that talking about books and writing eventually supersedes actually reading and writing. We couldn't risk alienating the people who joined to have a place to go and read when they can't do that at home. It must always be a place to escape to, never from.

I've been thinking about this off and on for a good ten years, but always more in the winter. And when the arch-nemesis is being especially awful. Yesterday was one of those days when I just wanted to go somewhere and be alone with my books. And at least half of a really good chocolate cake. Homemade. With possibly lemon frosting between the layers.

I would serve things like that at the library club. Members would eat for free.
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