I Love Libraries #celebratelu 3/22/14

celebrate link up

Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly Celebration at her blog. Drop by to see what others are celebrating.

Yesterday, I had a little extra time to myself and I chose to spend it at the library. I have three library cards: at my town library; at my college; and in Rapid City, about an hour from where I live. None are large libraries. If I go in with a list of twenty books I want to check out, I’ll be lucky if any of these libraries has more than a couple of titles. Still, that doesn’t prevent me from finding plenty of books I want to read. Yesterday, the library had only one of the books I was looking for, but I managed to find 36 books to take home anyway.

jackhynesPhoto CC-BY jackhynes

I fell in love with libraries when I was a little girl. I grew up in the country, and once every week or two, my mother took me to town to run errands and stock up at the library. It seemed like an impossibly exotic place to me. There were more books than I thought I would be able to read in a lifetime. There was air conditioning, and I still remember how deliciously cold the building felt on a hot Georgia summer day. And there was also a water fountain, which fascinated me. I manufactured a great deal of thirst to have an excuse to slip repeatedly through the double glass doors into the foyer, climb the step stool, press the metal button, and gulp the icy cold water that somehow arced out of the metal box.

Kaye, the librarian, seemed to have the best job in the world–surrounded by books, spending her days touching books, talking books, reading books, buying books, pushing books. (Not to mention the air conditioning and close proximity to the water fountain.)  She seemed to know everything. She certainly knew how to make matches between books and readers. She sent me home with stacks of the most wonderful stories–by Russell Hoban, William Steig, James Marshall, Beverly Cleary. She sent my mother home with her preferred reading–romance novels with heaving bosoms on the covers.

I discovered the pleasure of multiple library cards during my college years in Belgium. Each city had a different selection of English-language books, and cards were free. To have access to the best variety, it was necessary to have more than one card. I checked out library books in Antwerpen, Mechelen, and Leuven.

Leuven clg20171


Photo CC-BY clg20171

I spent my Saturdays riding the train between cities, fortifying myself with pastry and loading my backpack with the dozen or more fat volumes I needed to get through the week. There was very little contemporary literature, but there was a treasure trove of Virago Modern Classics, Victorian novels, and the complete oeuvre of Virginia Woolf. I read most of her novels and all of her essays, diaries, and letters over the years I lived in Belgium.

Ever since then, I have always had multiple library cards. Some weeks, I go to three different libraries in two different states. The only disadvantage to multiple library cards is returning books to the wrong library. Oops.

I don’t always read all of the books I check out, but that’s the beauty of the library. You can try out books, and you never have to feel guilty if they don’t work out.



8 responses to “I Love Libraries #celebratelu 3/22/14”

  1. I’m also a library addict. I’m currently only at two cards, but that’s because the local county library has been assimilating all the local city libraries, for mostly good reasons.

    When I lived in California, I think I had up to seven cards — it was a wonderful feeling. And I was among the very few college students who always walked off campus to get a local library card.

  2. Having just returned from the library with some new treasures, I especially appreciate this post. Libraries are kind of like panning for gold. Sometimes, you really do hit the jackpot! Oh and Belgium. Love Belgium!

    • I love the panning for gold metaphor. I do feel like that at the library. On Friday, I happened upon the Humans of New York photography book–I love the blog and have been wanting the book but it’s spendy so decided not to purchase. And my little library in Rapid City, South Dakota, had purchased it! You never know what you will find.

    • 6 library cards! Wow! I used to feel rather boastful about the 3 that I had–but mostly because they were used regularly and they were all 3 in different states, gigantic states (Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota). Love how you call checking out books an act of faith, because it really is: I also know in my heart of hearts that there is no way I will be able to read the 10 young adult novels I just checked out yesterday, and still, I checked them out. I believed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: