The Gift of Reading

The Library offers a white elephant staff picks display with books patrons can surprise themself with.

By Chantal Cagle, Information Assistant

Last year, one night in December, a gentleman pulled up to the Downtown Library drive-up window to pick up his holds. I scanned his card and saw he had 13 books waiting for him.

"You have a lot to pick up!" I said.
"It's the best part of Christmas," he replied.

As I trundled back and forth between the shelves and the checkout counter with his books, I pondered his words. Surely he knew he had to return the books? I handed him back his library card.

"When you said it was the best part of Christmas, did you mean you have more time to read them, or did you mean giving the books?"
"The books are destined to be wrapped and deposited under the tree," he replied.
"You know you have to return them though, right?"
"Oh yes, that's part of the fun––not holding onto things," he laughed.

He then explained that every year he reads the New York Times best books of the year list, then checks out as many as he can from the library, wrapping them up, and giving them to his family as presents. They read the books all winter break, then return them to the library. Now in her 20s, his daughter sends him a wishlist for the 'library fairy' before she returns home for the holidays. 

What a fantastic and unique idea. I bet they have great dinner table conversation.