It’s a snowy morning here and I started my day by slipping and falling flat on my back on the ice hiding under the snow. I’m sure it was a graceful sight to see. This weekend we are supposed to get a warm wave. Temperatures should rise well above freezing. I hope all of you get a respite from winter too.
Now back to regularly scheduled programming. I love libraries! I really do. The first time I see a book I’ve written for sale online, I feel excited. When I see it on a shelf of a bookstore, it’s even more exciting. The first time I see it in a library catalog, it is an absolute thrill. There is something so real about it.
The reasons I love libraries are many. When I walk into a library, I feel this overwhelming sense of freedom and power. I can try new authors or genres without fear – if I don’t like it I just bring it back. It’s not the books and computers that make the library a vibrant place to visit though; it’s the people. If I go to my local library on a weekday morning, I can see tons of people shorter than me. (Sure they are three years old, but they still count as people shorter than me!) They are engaged in story hours, searching for books, or playing with puzzles. Their moms and dads are connecting with their children and with each other. On the weekends, the library is packed with teens and pre-teens working on projects and doing research. (Most of them are taller than me!) Adults can be found at anytime in the library.They’re reading the newspapers and magazines, checking out books, and using the computers. The great part of this is not only are all of these people interacting with books and technology, they are interacting with each other. Face to face! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a book and had someone next to me stop what they were doing to give me a quick review of what he or she thought of the book or other works by the author. I think the best thing about libraries is they are so much a part of communities and they do so much to build a sense of community.
I did not always feel this way. My childhood library was in an old home. It wasn’t far from where I lived, so I could walk there on my own. (Yep, we were allowed out into the world on our own back then.) It was the scariest place I’d ever been in. It was dark and uninviting. I was often the only patron in there with a librarian who would eye me like I’d come to rob the place. The floor boards creaked as I walked on them. Bits of dust danced in the sun rays that sneaked in through cracks in the heavy drapes on the windows. If I paused too long in front of a bookcase, the librarian would get up from her desk, walk to the end of the aisle formed by two rows of bookcases, and stare at me. I learned to pick books quickly, often just taking three that were shelved beside each other. (Three books was the maximum allowed.) I read lots of books I might not have chosen on my own that way. Despite my fear, I went back every week. I didn’t love that library, but I loved to read. I loved books and the adventures they held. I was a major mystery reader, when I could find them.
When did you first fall in love with a library? What is the best thing about your public library?
Fun Fact: According to the US Census, in 2008 there were 9,221 public libraries in the United States.
Not So Fun Fact: I have almost accepted the reality I may never get past level 147 in Candy Crush.