As I was reading my beloved Wall Street Journal in the local public library here in North Carolina on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, I recalled a conversation I had in November while visiting my friend in Texas.

“There’s this really cool place that lets you check out books for free,” she said, feigning disbelief. “Imagine that!”

For the last decade or more, she’d been so busy with her career and her teenagers, she’d given no thought to the public library. Now with a long commute and a particular need for audio books, my friend is a frequent patron of her local library branches, for their physical offerings as well as their digital downloads.

I thoroughly enjoyed a tour of her beautiful Salado library, featuring a fireplace and comfortable seating on front and back porches. In front, a water feature was under construction. The library had recently doubled in size.

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Until she raved about her newfound joy of the public library, I was pondering how I’d swing a costly subscription to the Wall Street Journal while continuing to take a break from the world of work. Visiting the local library to read the newspaper for free had not occurred to me.

I, too, have spent the last decade and a half consumed by work. The rare hour or two during a week when my off hours coincided with my library’s operating hours were likely spent catching up on chores. Or perhaps posting to my professional social media accounts, so I could maintain my then-relatively highly Klout score. I’m too embarrassed to say when — prior to this sabbatical — I last read a book for pleasure.

So, on this last day of the year in which I jumped into a new life in North Carolina, I wallowed in the luxury of time to devour the Wall Street Journal — for free.

Next up — getting a North Carolina driver’s license, so I can actually check something out to take home with me.

 

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