Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, May 18

Gapers Block

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annie / March 8, 2008 9:57 AM

I use several different public libraries to host meetings for work. They're free!! but I can't tell you the last time I took out a book, probably not since college. There are some really lovely libraries in Chicago, so even if you're not up for checking out a book, maybe just go for the architecture. I really like the Walker Branck library in Morgan Park (spent a lot of time in there as a kid).

mike-ts / March 8, 2008 10:09 AM

Two days ago. I'm within walking distance of the place. I can order something online, they call me when it's in, and I pick it up. Books on tape, CD's, as well as paper books, all at my beck and call.

One of these days libraries will get real and put cafes in them like Borders and Barnes & Noble do, and that'll bring the crowd back.

R / March 8, 2008 10:33 AM

I use CPL constantly.

kate / March 8, 2008 1:51 PM

A week ago.

BOOKS... check 'em out!

jennifer / March 8, 2008 2:03 PM

I don't use the public library, but I'm always coming and going from one of my university's library. love hearing that cpl has the order online/pickup option. will have to check it out.

kiki / March 8, 2008 3:10 PM

this morning. i'm at the harold washington library all the damn time. love the seventh floor fiction and cute boys in the eighth floor art/music section.

Mindy / March 8, 2008 4:46 PM

i currently have property of cpl in my apartment (due back next saturday).

Jeremy / March 8, 2008 5:53 PM

It's been probably 2 years for me. It's not that I don't want to use it, but I've got about $6 in fines on my account and I'm too ashamed to go in.

kelly / March 8, 2008 9:27 PM

At least twice a week. DVDs, CDs, books.

However, most of the time GB is not so inclusive of the non-773/312 citizens, so, you know take this 630 answer for what you want. ANY PL is an awesome resource people should totally get into.

JD / March 8, 2008 9:30 PM

Umm... Grade school.

lmy / March 8, 2008 11:13 PM

i visit the merlo library in lakeview every saturday. i check out the dvd's and the new books only. the rest of their selection is old and smelly.

George / March 9, 2008 2:17 AM

Garfield Ridge all the time. It's not a huge branch, but the staff are friendly and quite helpful. Anything they don't have can be sent there in a few days, so size of the local collection isn't all that important.

Ellen / March 9, 2008 9:05 AM

At least once a month because my writers' group meets there. Come to think of it: Any writers out there looking for a critique group? We're a mix of published and unpublished folks--all honest and supportive. We'd be glad to see you at our meeting tomorrow (Monday) at Sulzer at 7 pm.

YAJ / March 9, 2008 11:18 AM

Yesterday. I just dropped off my latest pile of books, but I didn't have time to browse for new ones. I love that you can return books to any CPL...I visit 3 or 4 different branches regularly and have been to about a dozen others in the last year or so.

I didn't realize I could order on-line, so I'm going to the website just now.

RMH / March 9, 2008 11:36 AM

I checked out a few books yesterday. I usually visit Sulzer or Harold Washington.

Cheryl / March 9, 2008 12:02 PM

Very rarely. But then, I work for a non-public library and got the ILL staff to show me how to do my own interlibrary loans. Now most of what I read gets delivered to me at work.

I was at Sulzer twice within the last month. My ILL books hadn't arrived and I was out of things to read. So I got some books out and then returned them when they were due.

Mikey / March 9, 2008 4:11 PM

It's been far too long (though I was at the Newberry Library about a year ago)...

I really love libraries too--the older the better. Anything to do with books, really. My dream is to have a library in my home some day--lots of dark wood, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, fireplace, mullioned windows, rolling wood ladders, etc.)...

I only work a couple of blocks away from the Harold Washington Library too, so I'm going to make a concerted effort now to get over there and see what it has to offer...

m / March 9, 2008 5:02 PM

a couple years ago when i lived in the suburbs. ive been meaning to check out the library on belmont near broadway, but i always forget to when im bored enough to do stuff like that. anyone know anything about that library? good selection of books?

steven / March 9, 2008 7:01 PM

In high school. Though I've been meaning to check it out lately...buying books gets to be expensive.

PMan / March 9, 2008 9:39 PM

About 6 weeks ago, which means that Muddy Waters Live at Newport is about 3 weeks overdue. Harold Washington has a pretty good blues section. If I were halfway organized, I'd be systematically going through it.

Milo / March 9, 2008 10:00 PM

Just at Sulzer this afternoon, and I love the Harold Washington.

I can't tell you how excited I am about the website redesign - the fact that it (finally!) actually looks like a major city's library website is so important. And now that I can "order" books online, I don't have to track down someone at a physical library and wait forever while they look the book up in the system and mark it as a hold (though I will miss those ridiculously silly phone messages you would get when your book came in - "Hello. This is the Chicago Public Library. ...").

Another thing about the website: if you set your preferred library on your "account," it will list books at that library first in the list when searching for a particular book, then nearby libraries, and then all the rest. SO much nicer.

Milo / March 9, 2008 10:07 PM

I was just looking at the website - some other things that are fantastic on the new site:

- Finally able to renew books online
- Links to sites like Booklist Online (for reviews), Fiction Connection (for finding suggestions), Books in Print, and NoveList
- Staff recommendations and books lists (like an entire list devoted to Pulitzer prize winners) where it's a simple click on a link to reserve the book

I will be spending a lot more time on this website than the old one. But it'll be interesting to see if they can keep up with the changes at the physical libraries themselves.

Greg / March 10, 2008 9:24 AM

I go monthly or so. I've found that owning a book or DVD all but ensures that I will never make time to read/watch it.

skee bop / March 10, 2008 9:41 AM

I go all the time to both the Harold Washington and Sulzer (despite living in logan square). Sulzer because its a really nice bike ride if I don't have anywhere particular to ride to, and for the magazines and music/books on CD. Harold Washington because its a few blocks from work and for the cookbooks, ravinia tickets in the summer, cds, and just good old fashioned books.

I haven't yet checked out the website redesign but from the sounds of it I am totally missing out. Going there right now....

Gadfly / March 10, 2008 9:47 AM

As far as using the library for checking out books, about a million years. I haven't owned a library card since I was a teenager maybe. I'm very judicious in my book reading so that when I select a book, CD, DVD, etc., it usually means that I want to own it. And I haven't written a "term paper" or something like that in a bazillion years, so haven't used the library for research or anything.

But I do think that a free library is one of the greatest inventions of modern man.

The only time I've used the library recently is to hear a lecture or two at the Harold Washington... Studs Terkel, David Mamet, the Columbia College Fiction Week reading.

But I did recently find a website with free downloads of audiobooks (mostly old classics) for iPods, so now I have that.

printdude / March 10, 2008 10:04 AM

I'm a big user of CPL.

A good friend of mine donated his entire music collection to them when he died, so I like getting reminded of him when I check out music.

I'm due for a visit, prolly tomorrow.
Last return was 10 days ago.

Brian / March 10, 2008 10:19 AM

I'm so glad the CPL overhauled their website and finally have services available via the website! I've lived in two other places that have had similar systems (Indianapolis and Nashville), and they were fantastic. I couldn't believe when I moved back here that CPL didn't have that available, and that a smaller city like Nashville had a system like this since 1999. Yay for moving into the 21st century!

CC / March 10, 2008 11:18 AM

Not since I moved, considering CPL makes it harder to update your address than any utility company! If they can do online lending and renewing, why in the world do I need to go in person to Newberry with not one but two proofs of address just to once again be able to borrow some books?

anne / March 10, 2008 12:43 PM

I just went to the Evanston branch (near my work) which you can use with your CPS card, btw, to pick up free federal and state tax forms, since my local Post office once again proved they're idiots and didn't stock any. They had all the forms I needed, in spades, all wonderfully organized.

roderick / March 10, 2008 1:27 PM

In the past year I've used it much more than I've used libraries in the past.

I like the new website, although I wish I could pay my overdue book fine online so I can then subsequently put on hold a book that I found out I couldn't put on hold due to said fine...

Steven / March 10, 2008 5:04 PM

Late December. I looked up reviews of refrigerators in Consumers Reports to help me decide which model to choose.

TKO / March 10, 2008 5:41 PM

It's been ages. I was spoiled by the Urbana Free Library and am terribly disappointed by CPL.

p / March 10, 2008 8:14 PM

TKO do u wear a monocle? For yon tutt-tutteries carry with them such droll foppishness that i dare say sir/madame "How Rude." Good DAY, tko,

last time was a few months ago to pick up some free aquarium passes. great resource for that.

Jill / March 10, 2008 11:54 PM

I tried to find my book club book at CPL--went to three different branches, and it had been checked out of all three (sucks when you see a branch has it one day, and you go there the next to find it's already gone).

I'm going to try to use it more, but I've always been ticked off by the fact that I have the worst time finding anything at Harold Washington (doubly sucky when one has a library school degree).

Sarah-Ji / March 11, 2008 8:25 AM

Last night, as a matter of fact. I had to pay a $36 late fee for a couple videos that were probably worth $5.99 each. I'm sticking with Netflix.

paul / March 11, 2008 12:05 PM

I haven't taken out a book since college, but I go to the used book sale in Evanston when they have it, and use libraries as stops between work to get online.

The garden level of Harold Washington is a nice place to work (I guess it would be too much to ask for comfy couches).

strawberry / March 11, 2008 1:32 PM

I had an awful experience at Sulzer and will never go back there. I don't hold it against all CPL's, though, and was at Harold Washington on Saturday. By the way, I also think it's a crock that they charge for movie rentals. Isn't the whole point of a library the fact that things are free to borrow, thanks to our tax dollars? Am I wrong?

Carol / March 11, 2008 2:27 PM

Response to strawberry & Sarah-Ji : Regarding CPL's policies for borrowing DVDs. They are free to borrow (1 week loan) but $2/day for overdue items - up to $20 maximum overdue fine per video. Our policy is described here:
As a member of the staff at HWLC / VPA art department I appreciate that visiting the Public Library is being discussed! It is also nice to hear that people are using our new website and its new features.

peanut / March 11, 2008 3:35 PM

Why, I'm at the library RIGHT NOW, working hard. I too am enjoying the new website, especially placing holds and dizzying my mind with its vibrant colors.

laprof / March 11, 2008 5:20 PM

Wow, you can renew books on the new website? That is awesome. I always thought that CPL didn't allow that in order to extract extra revenue from us....but it appears that my cynicism was misplaced. Bravo CPL!

Wendy / March 12, 2008 1:43 AM

I use the CPL bi-weekly. I go in pick up a book I have previously requested and request another book. It is a lovely system with just a slow enough turn around time to almost always finish one book before the next arrives!

Brandy / March 12, 2008 8:51 AM

I am a library zealot. I go to Harold Washington weekly (went yesterday) and will go to my local branch to pick up a hold today.

It's great to hear that GB'ers are library users. It warms my heart. I'm more used to people griping about fines who've long given up on libraries. I pick a day of the week and go each week. Helps keep me in the library mindset and constantly returning items.

Spook / March 12, 2008 11:17 AM

Newberry Library last summer for the big book sale. I got there late on the last day, so it was kinda depression, picking over what remained.

I'm kinda into building my own library, lots and lots of books at home comforts a Spook who is greatly disturbed at these times.

Ian / March 12, 2008 11:31 AM

I am keen user of the Harold Washington library and was delighted to see they are trying to make this a more social space, by the addition of a coffee shop.

Since CPL recently updated their catalog system, I have been redesigning my browser bookmarklet that allows you to cross reference any title from, etc against the CPL catalog. If anyone would like to assist in testing this new version, I would be very grateful. Please just drop me an email and I will send you the details.

irisheyes1212 / March 12, 2008 2:17 PM

I have just started going back to the library recently. I hadn't been since college really. i am quite enjoying it!
I didn't realize that the website was updated, its great!

" I'm more used to people griping about fines who've long given up on libraries." -- Brandy

No doubt. Especially since people only bring the fines on themselves. It's not as if libraries go around randomly fining people.
Like meter maids.

Joy / March 12, 2008 3:21 PM

just about every week for books/dvds, the request/hold process is simple to use and I've just started using the audio book downloads for some easy listening books. and the new website is much more user friendly.

sara / March 13, 2008 11:59 AM

I voted for Barack at the Bucktown branch.

Otherwise, every couple months I'll pick up an audiobook on CD. Selection is weak but it's cheaper than Audible!

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