nosy neighbor

One of my favorite things about the Durham County Library has got to be the holds shelf.  Yes, they have fine children’s programming, and yes, they do actually purchase the books that my husband and I have recommended.  But it’s the holds shelf that is especially dear to me.  I appreciate the speed and, generally speaking, accuracy with which books magically appear from far flung corners of the county.  And while there is the slightly annoying tendency of receiving a premature email notification that a book has arrived only to later discover that the book is still hanging out somewhere in the bowels of the library, I can put up with this minor frustration.  For what my nosy, nosy self truly loves about the holds shelf is not seeing my book contentedly waiting for me but is spying so many neighbors’ names waving and smiling at me from the spines of the books and cds on the shelf.

For you non-Durhamites or non library devotees, the Durham library discreetly wraps your chosen book in a sheet of paper with your name printed in a mega-font on the spine.  Ah, the secrets that lie behind that paper wrapper.  What is that person whose name I recognize from a listserv but have never met reading these days? My, that mom from the playground certainly is requesting a lot of cds.

How I long to pull that book off of the shelf and peek under the wrapper to see what my neighbor is reading but something stops me from this full-out nosiness.  Yes, such behavior is socially frowned upon.  And yes, it would be awkward to have to hand over a book to my son’s friend’s mom when she appears beside me at the shelf.  What stops me, however, from peeking behind the mysterious veil of paper privacy is a fear that someone else is snooping at what I’ve been reading or listening to.  Checking out “The Essential Waylon Jennings” already takes a bit of courage, and I rather keep it hush-hush that I am back on a crappy mystery reading spree.

So, until I elevate my musical or reading tastes, Durham, your selections on the holds shelf at the downtown library are safe from my prying, wandering eyes.



  1. z. said

    There’s always volunteering so you can snoop. Hehe.

  2. eluet said

    You take whatever perks you can get when you volunteer, yes?

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