My love affair with the library

So today’s Booking Through Thursday question made me smile:

I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

Oh, how often I use my public library.   I use my public library to cheer myself up whenever I am depressed.  The main branch of our public library is the library I have been going to since I was a little, little girl.  These days I work near a different branch, which is nice and saves me gas money, but I don’t feel the same way about it.  The drive from my parents’ house to the main branch of the library is my favorite drive of any in town – especially for those few weeks in March when the azaleas have blossomed most brilliantly.

My favorite memory of the library is how some weekends when we were in middle school (and maybe into high school?  I can’t remember), my sister and I and two or three of our geekier friends used to have what we called “library days” – we would all pack bag lunches and spend a Saturday at the library.  There was a particular place in the very, very back of the children’s section, where nobody ever went, and that was our base of operations for the day.  We’d put four or five cushioned benches together between the shelves and lie on them reading the massive piles of books we had collected.  It was perfect, because we liked hanging out together, and we loved being around all the books, and at the same time we suspected we weren’t meant to have the benches or be munching on carrots in the back of the children’s section, so it felt like we were getting away with something.

I’m not sure if technology advanced and they spotted us on closed circuit cameras, or if we started to look shady, but the library people stopped letting us hang out back there.  I would actually still really enjoy doing a library day, but every participant in them now lives in a different city; and anyway we are far too old.  Which I guess is just what happens when you grow up.

6 thoughts on “My love affair with the library

  1. I was such a magnet to libraries when I was young. I still remembered that sensation of getting my library card—that felt so privileged and special!

    I love reading my own books at the library these days! 🙂 That said, I’m justified to visit my favorite bookstores almost every other day. But when I need to find out about new authors and reference materials, I turn to the library.

  2. I can’t afford to visit my bookstore! I keep thinking that when I settle down in some more-or-less permanent living and working situation, I will start buying all the books that I want to keep forever. But right now every time I buy a book I can see the boxes and moving vans. Looming.

    So it’s alllllll about the library. 🙂

  3. I love your story about library day and hanging out. I could do that when I was younger too. Libraries are simply wonderful. I’d be lost without mine.

    • God, me too. Our library has a really superb collection given its budget – their nonfiction section isn’t as good, but they keep up with fiction. Nearly every book I write down for myself to read, my library has.

  4. As a child, I can remember when the branch library that I work in now was being built. It was 1974. I lived right across the street from it. It took 2 yrs, but on the Opening Day I was one of the very first patrons to receive my very own library card. I never missed a day going by the library from that day forward. The Branch Manager became the “Library Mom” for a lot of the kids in the neighborhood.
    She also encourage me to apply for the page position at this branch when it became available in 1980. I got that position and 20 plus years later, on her last week on the job at this branch (she retired), I was promoted to Branch Manager.

    Because of such caring and wonderful staff at my neighborhood library, I have enjoyed 20 plus yrs of great memories.

  5. That’s amazing – it must have been so exciting for you when it finally opened! And it’s great that it’s been such a home for you throughout your life. There was never a library close enough to my home that I could walk there, so I didn’t visit as often as I’d have liked when I was little.

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