New City, New Libraries, New Bookstores, New Reading Adventures!
I made a BIG announcement last night. My boyfriend was offered an incredible job back in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, so we'll be moving before the end of the month. I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and have never lived outside the county into which I was born, so moving in with a partner in a city 8 hours north is a huge life change. But one that I'm excited about! (I just wish I could take all my friends with me.)
What does this have to do with reading, you might ask? Lots, actually!
Fun fact: Ohio is home to some of the best libraries in the country. The Columbus Metropolitan Library is one of the most-used library systems in the country and is constantly ranked among the best. Due to the volume of visitors, they're constantly innovating and trying new things that less well-funded libraries don't have the resources to do. Not only is this good for me as a library science student, it's good for me as a patron.
In fact, I applied for a library card online, so it'll be waiting in the mailbox when I move in. Huzzah! Libraries are a great way to get plugged into a new community, so I'm glad I'll have a strong library to support me in this new adventure.
Also, Anthony Doerr, the author of All the Light We Cannot See, is from Ohio and has been known to speak at book festivals around the state. (!!!) Toni Morrison too! I might die of literary starstruck-ness!
I've visited Columbus a handful of times on vacation with my boyfriend and I'm constantly impressed by the bookstores. I can hardly leave without bringing home a suitcase full of books.
Not that I don't love Birmingham's bookstores, though if you're wanting consignment books, the primary store is 2nd & Charles. They've pretty much got a monopoly on Birmingham's consignment book market. This isn't the best thing for readers because that means they can charge $8 for a beat up Neil Gaiman and because EVERYONE brings them their used books, the payout is piss-poor.
Around Columbus (and other parts of the country), there's a consignment bookstore called Half Price Books. And rather than having one gigantic store like 2nd & Charles, Half Price has a lot of smaller stores, all of which are in competition with one another. The competition is good because the consignment book market is more distributed, so they're incentivized to lower prices and provide higher payouts. I'm no economist, but I did get some Toni Morrison books for $2 apiece and I know I've never been so lucky in the 'ham.
And not only are the consignment bookstores winning at being bookstores, the indies are awesome too. Last time I was in town, we visited The Book Loft. Now, if you're just looking at the storefront, The Book Loft looks like you're average bookstore. Don't let it fool you. When you go inside, you're twisted into a 32-room maze that spans 3 or 4 floors (it's so disorienting you really can't tell) and many thousands of square feet. I've never seen so many books in one place before. If you've ever wanted to get lost in a bookstore before in a very literal sense, The Book Loft is the place to do it!
Having never lived outside the county into which I was born, I don't know a soul in Columbus other than my boyfriend's parents. While I'm going to miss my Birmingham friends terribly and will be investing a good chunk of time keeping in touch, I am looking forward to getting plugged into my new community too. I figured, what better way to make friends than to find the book nerds?
Thank goodness for Meetup.com! I was able to find several book clubs and new-to-the-city clubs, so hopefully they'll be welcoming. If not, I'll watch re-runs of "Wishbone" on YouTube while hibernating until spring (I don't even want to talk about snow!), then I'll start my own book club. Either way, I'm going to make the best of this adventure and see where life takes me.
Don't worry---I'll still be blogging every week. I imagine this new adventure will add some further perspective to my posts. And if you're curious about me personally, following my non-bookish shenanigans, or reading my creative nonfiction writing, I'll be adding a tab for a personal blog to my website. That way you can read all my book nerd musings in one place and my non-book nerd musings elsewhere, so you can tailor your reading to what you're interested in.
Thanks for joining me on the journey! More soon. :)