I remember clearly going to the library with my cousin, Joan, and sitting at one of the long wooden tables looking at picture book after picture book. I was in heaven. I had a library card from just about the time I could read.
When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, my library world expanded when I discovered they had a whole section devoted to readers on my level. I was particularly fond of the “Betsy” series of books by Carolyn Haywood. I see they’re reissued them in the 90s so a whole new crop of kids can enjoy them. I’m glad — I enjoyed them so much! I also enjoyed the Beverly Cleary series’ about Ramona and Henry Huggins. I also loved the Bobbsey Twins, but not so much Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew!
Our library was great. There was a large staircase outside leading to heavy doors. The first floor was the adult books and until college, I really never went in there. On either side you could ascend the cool white marble stairs that went up to the children’s reading room. At the first landing, there were copies of many patriotic documents. I always thought, “How cool! We have the Declaration of Independence here!” Imagine my disappointment to learn that they weren’t the originals, only copies! Up on the 2nd floor, was the large and impressive children’s reading room. I loved that room!
I’m imagining that in High School most of my reading was paperbacks, which is why I don’t remember spending MUCH time there during those years. However, in college, I took a music appreciation class. For the “listening quizzes”, a friend who had taken it the year before coached me, “Pay attention to the color of the label on the record (yes, they used vinyl in those days) — that will help you identify which artist, etc.” I did that, but I also found that if I could learn to identify some of the actual music, that would be helpful too. I took some of the music out of the public library and soon became a fan of classical music — which I still enjoy very much to this day. Oh, and I got a B in the class — pretty good considering I’d never paid any attention to that kind of music before. I also remember taking out some Shakespeare recordings — that is, Shakespeare’s plays on albums. I also got a B in Shakespeare 2.
When I moved to Phoenix, I had a library card before I had a driver’s license. I worked at a teeny tiny school where they had a little bitty library. My ‘good readers’ had already exhausted any potential reading material by 6th grade, so I had to be inventive. Every 2 weeks, I’d head to the library and fill up boxes with books. Then I’d take them home and spend the night cataloging them on index cards and returning them to the boxes, to be brought to the classroom the next day where they were (mostly) eagerly anticipated. Each child had an index card with his/her name and a paper clip. When they took a book from the table, they removed the catalog card and clip it to their name card. That way I knew who had it when it came time to return them. It worked pretty well… I only remember losing 1 book during the year. Hopefully, those readers appreciated the extra work I did so they’d have something good to read!
Even today, I utilize the library quite a bit… only now I’m more likely to use electronic media than paper media. I enjoy listening to books in the car, whether on CD, (old days it was ‘tape’) or downloaded to my iphone/ipod. The library is my source for new cookbooks, and recently, crochet patterns. Every now and then, I slip in a ‘reading’ book.
A friend kindly gave me his old Kindle when he got a new one. I thanked him profusely and wondered, “what am I gonna do with this thing?” I prefer not to read long texts on the computer screen, what made me think I’d like this little bitty screen any better. And the cost for the books! But I found that I can also download some books from the library to my Kindle, so I gave it a try. Now I use a program called Bookbub that offers ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ Kindle books daily — for a short time (sometimes just one day — sometimes 2 or 3 days) I have now accumulated over 100 books on my Kindle…. mine to keep. Some are reading books, but I also have a few cookbooks there too (one of the new ones is a SMOOTHIE book!) Some day, when I have time (and a palm tree to lie under) I’ll be set for reading!
Let’s hear it for the Library! YAY!!!