For the Love of Libraries

I fell in love with reading when my mother handed me one of her favorite books, “Henry Huggins” by Beverly Cleary. My first chapter book, it was a red hardback and I was in second grade. I quickly got acquainted with Ramona, Beezus and Ribsy, then on to other series. Sometimes I would sit at my desk during indoor recess and while children around me played, I’d be deep into “The Boxcar Children”. I devoured so many books each week that I remember being slightly embarrassed at borrowing six chapter books at a time (the limit) at the public library, especially when the librarian raised an eyebrow.

If I were to close my eyes and imagine a happy place during my childhood, one place would be the public library’s Children’s Room, smelling sweetly of books, softly carpeted, quiet except for the bang-click of books being checked out.

Fast forward 25+ years when I was a new mom with a tiny baby in a Baby Bjorn, lonely because I didn’t know other young mothers in town. During the week when my husband and neighbors and friends were at work, I filled the time with walking the baby into our small center of town, eager for any adult conversation and human contact.

One day I walked into the branch library, only open a few days a week during random hours, not a great selection of books, but a cute little haven. Babies are great conversation starters and slowly but surely, I became friendly with the librarians. Then I discovered I could “order” books through the library network, much like Amazon, but free. Each week, I find a reason to get to the branch library, even if there is nothing waiting for me at the desk. It’s a ritual to see my friends and the volunteers and just browse around. This winter, while prepping for another Nor’easter, I ran to the grocery store, drug store and to the library. Who wants to be stuck in a storm without something good to read?

Now my baby that was in a Baby Bjorn is in second grade and Harry Potter has ignited her love of reading. My just-turned-five-years-old son is proud to now have a library card of his own, even though he has a tendency to (*cringing*) borrow DVDs and no books.

While we are on vacation at the beach this summer, I am sure to find a reason to pop into the local library and find a story hour for a rainy day. Just another home away from home.

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1 Comment

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One response to “For the Love of Libraries

  1. The list from childhood is incredibly long – and it’s been an immense pleasure to guide my daughter to some of its books – phantom tollbooth, anne of green gables, tuck everlasting, bridge to terabithia, the “shoes” books by Noel streatfield.. Could go on all day! She just finished 2nd grade and is huge Harry potter fan too!! 😉
    As an adult? Easy. Dani shapiro’s Devotion. Changed my life.

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