Wednesday, October 22, 2008

O is for Openbare Bibliotheek

Openbare Bibliotheek means public library. A couple of months after I arrived in Amsterdam, I went to the library to get a library card. I thought it would be helpful if I could checkout books in Dutch so I wouldn't have to buy them. I asked the librarian in the children's section of this library (using my baby Dutch) if she spoke English.

She looked me right in the eye and said that she did not. I thought she was probably lying. However, having taught English for a couple of years now, I imagine she was telling the truth. People learn English in school and then they get in a job like this where they never come into contact with English speakers and they get way out of practice.

Fred couldn't imagine why in the world I wanted a library card. Why would I go to the library? It's just a building filled with used books - used dirty books. Fred won't read a book if anyone else has read it before him. (My hand to God.) He reads a lot, but only new books. So libraries are basically useless to him. Conversely, I really like used books. I would even say that I prefer them. They feel better. And I like the smell.

A library card here costs about €22,00 - or it did a few years ago. You have to renew it every year. Mine is out of date. My romantic thoughts of going to the library to borrow a book sort of got lost. Plus, we have so many books here that I can pretty much find one if I'm really looking for a book to read in Dutch.

Openbare (or openbaar) is a good word to know.

By the way, a gentle reader reminded me that I have actually done M and N. So if you must read N, you can find it in July. It was about neut. I thought I was further along, but they weren't properly tagged. Thanks, anonymous.

1 comment:

Marion said...

Its €24,-- now. So I take it Fred has not visited the new library at Oosterdokseiland yet? :)