November 4: Libraries
I remember my mom reading me the Golden Book series (The Pokey Little Puppy was my favorite), and I remember my favorite collection of Fairy Tales (I wonder what happened to that book?)
And I remember childhood visits to the library, filled with awe and wonder. I would sit on the cold linoleum floor, carefully deciding which three books I wanted to take home. Of course, I couldn’t yet read, so I was literally judging the book by its cover.
As I grew up, my time at the library changed. I typically purchased books that I read for fun, and reserved the library for research. I suppose I have always been a bit of a book-nerd, but I actually enjoyed pouring through the card catalog to find the right book for the project. And of course I always came prepared; I never entered the building without a package of lined index cards and a number 2 pencil.
After college graduation I took a break. IF I had completed all mandatory reading, I would have read nearly 500 pages a week to finish my Political Science major. I vowed I wouldn’t pick up a book for at least a year. It was more like seven.
I adored reading books to my children when they were younger, but I simply could not afford to buy enough new books to hold
their my interest. So when they each turned two we would take our first trip to the library. I’m not sure who was more excited to bring the new books home, the children or me.
It wasn’t until 2001, however, that I truly learned the value of my local library. That was my first year of teaching, and if it were not for the library, I am certain I would not have made it. I would make weekly treks to check out books on how to teach, how to analyze literature, how to write, how to teach writing. I would check out children’s books for classroom enrichment activities, and I would review the classics to decide which ones to teach.
To this day, I add books to my holding list on a daily basis, and I visit the local branch at least three times a week. I have taken several classes at the library, everything from photography to writing to genealogy. I have attended NaNoWriMo write-ins. And now… I use the library as my office.
I am indeed grateful for the ability to read, for books to read, and for a library who provides these valuable resources to the public.