I have always liked the library. As a child you would have seen me tugging at my Mom’s arm as we headed inside the brick structure – her walking too slow, me leading the way. Or you might have seen me wandering around the children’s section whispering the book titles to myself. When you are young your world is experienced through not only your own senses, but also through the experiences of others in your life. For me, among these influential people were all the characters in every book I read.
They showed me some new point of view, brought meto some new place. I suspect most kids of that age had similar experiences, but I know full well that I am one of those that took it to extremes. Always having a book within reach – even if I have read it several times, taking my “favorite” with me for car rides, and asking where the library was located as soon as we moved to a new town. The library served as the backdrop as I explored my childhood in safety. Among the colorful children’s sections in multiple libraries in California, Connecticut and Virginia, I discovered that there is a world outside of my own thoughtful conception – that there is creativity and logic neatly organized in between sometimes worn and sometimes polished book covers. Throughout my life I have seen the library as a church, a school, and an art studio. As an adult, I find myself wandering through the carpeted ailes in the library here in town. Sometimes I seek out the quiet stillness during times of chaos and discomfort. Sometimes I run in to quickly grab a weekend read. Almost always, I walk through the doors with an expectation of knowing where I am – a sense of home away from home. If ever there is a time in this digital age where the library no longer has a role in our lives, I suspect I will be the grandmother that tells her grandchildren of the time when there were these amazing places in each community. Places were you could go and find adventures sitting orderly on a shelf, and you could bring them home for free. Places where you could be surrounded by words and ideas, knowledge and beliefs, that you could explore in a safe world organized by rows. Places that brought a quieter, slower pace to your life.