The area I have migrated to out here in the Midwest has a lot of things going for it that I love, like its support of the arts, for example. Of all these things--the radio stations, the public transit system, the local restaurants--what I love most about this area are the libraries. The fact that I'm an English major should make this confession of no real surprise to anyone.
That Ohio's citizen's visit their libraries more than citizens of any other state is the stuff of internet article fact (for what that's worth). In Northeast Ohio, it's easy to see why. Cleveland has an excellent library system. In fact, Clevnet is less like a library system and more like a network. It has participating library branches as far west as Sandusky and as for east as Trumbull county, as far north as Ashtabula and as far south as Wayne county. A patron belonging to Clevnet can request items from any of the 44 currently participating libraries. What's more, the main branch in downtown Cleveland is gorgeous, a grand old building with sweeping ceilings, architectural intrigue, and a convenient drive-thru. The literary magazine section, which I visited once, may house more magazines that the AWP book fair (and that's saying something).
I admit, though, that didn't really appreciate what I had stumbled upon until I momentarily lost it. When we moved this past Easter to our new house, the local library was not a participating clevnet library. For several months we tried to make do, but the fiction section had only the most current books in any given series and there was no way to request the earlier books from other branches. There were no other branches. The knitting section looked plucked right out of the mid-80s, with none of the newer works that the knitting renaissance has inspired. The new books section was composed mostly of cheesy genre fiction (and not the good kind either). I was unaware that many romances set in Amish country even existed. What's more, there was never an available copy of Downton Abbey.
Fortunately, a few months post-move, I found out that the next town over is part of Clevnet. Moreover, it's closest branch is housed in a window-laden two-story building nestled between an I-hop, a Texas Roundhouse (LOVE their loaded sweet potatoes that they top with mini marshmallows), a Target, and the future location of the local Jo-Ann Fabrics. Their children's section has a pet turtle and once, a visiting tarantula bigger than my hand. While the immediate magazine selection and knitting section are slim pickings, they offer everything I need by way of Clevnet. Just request the item in question and an email arrives in my inbox the day it comes in.
I cannot leave a Clevnet library without a giant stack of books.
Sure, we have a river that once caught fire and a grifter population so insistent that it puts NYC to shame, but this library thing? We've got that perfected.