For those of you who aren’t yet aware, I am a bibliophile (this isn’t exactly a secret to those who know me). Unfortunately, I am also running low on new books to read on my Kindle so I did what every bibliophile would do: I checked out the town library or bibliotheek. The library is about a half an hour walk away and tucked back a bit from the road.
The first thing I noticed when I entered was the lack of a circulation desk. There were just shelves and a few computer stations. How was I going to get a library card or check out a book? I took an unofficial tour of the library and selected a quirky French novel and a CD. Amazingly there is a decent selection of English novels (about 4-5 bookcases, French has only one side of a bookcase) given the size of the library. Apparently, they also have a couple newspapers in English as well.
When I was ready to check out my selections I located a library assistant. He signed me up for a card and took my subscription for the year. Yes, you have to pay for library access here; no free libraries. How much you pay determines how many books you can check out and how long you can keep them. Media is basically rented from the library (with the exception of non-fiction) and there is no limit to how many movies etc you can check out. Checkout is entirely done by computer. You scan your card and books at one of the computer stations attached to a bookcase. You return your materials to these bookcases later.
The library also has a variety of familiar services: the staff help you locate materials, members get free internet access, community classes and events held at the library, pamphlets advertising local (non-library) events and places to visit, and there is even a café where you can read and have a koffie. I look forward to visiting the library regularly.