Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things on Thursday: The Library

I remember my mother taking me to the library when I was very little. I remember writing my name on check-out cards and the librarian putting the date stamp on the cards and in the books. I remember how we could check out as many as we wanted for free, the right of every person, rich or poor, old or young.

I remember the excitement of opening a new book and wondering what amazing characters and stories and places it would share with me. I remember words, words, words, and pictures.

I remember the different smells of paper in old and new books, the million shades of white and cream and yellow paper, the feel of smooth or rough paper and thick or thin, the sound of pages rubbing against each other and the cracking of spines, the feel of cloth-covered boards wrapped in slipcovers and of paperbacks.

I remember learning how to use the card catalog and Dewey Decimal system, and the amazement of finding a book just where the card catalog said it would be. I remember going to college and discovering the Library of Congress system and realizing how wonderful it was to get lost in the stacks in the PRs (English Literature) or the Ds (history).

I remember the graffiti in the library carrels. My favorite was "Free the Bound Periodicals."

I remember discovering inter-library loan in graduate school and suddenly the whole wide world of books and periodicals was just a request form away.

I remember deciding I needed to have my own library to dip into whenever the urge struck, and I have assiduously collected books my entire adult life. I remember deciding to teach myself how to bind books. I remember the joy of the first book I ever made. I remember feeling connected to anyone and everyone who ever made a book in the history of humankind.

Magic is in books and miracles are in libraries...from the ancient lost library at Alexandria to the tiny local library in your hometown.

I still love going to the library. I love taking my children to the library and letting them check out books. I love giving them the experience I had, watching them find just the right book for whatever journey through words and pictures they feel moved to take.

I love the magic of books. I love the adventure, the freedom, the accessibility.

I love the library.


  1. This librarian hearts this post! Susan, would you mind if I shared this on FB? I know my professional friends would enjoy it.

  2. Libraries are the best :) My daughter is an avid reader and the library saves me LOL! Just wish I had more time to read...summers and Christmas Break have to do for now. Great post :)

  3. I agree! I too am an avid reader and don't have the money or space to buy all the books I read. Libraries are super!

  4. I remember the "Free the bound periodicals" graffiti in Perkins! I worked there all 4 years, and libraries have always been dear to my heart.

    Cheers, Linda

  5. I love books, too. And I love the library. When I walk into the library with my smallest girl, she immediately runs off to the kids' section while I browse for a new novel or two for myself. By the time I go to find her, she has a pile as tall as herself ready to check out. :-) The library is a monthly ritual full of magic and new adventures.

  6. I wholeheartedly agree, me, my sons and now my grand daughters love books, the library and all it's wondrous delights. Thank you for putting it so succinctly. I'm hoping that you have taken the time you need for yourself Susan :0) Gay xxx

  7. Francie, please feel free to share any content from this blog on FB. I'm honored you would think of it.


  8. Beautifully written. I love the library, too. My childhood home was two blocks from the library. In the summer, I could usually be found in my one of my favorite sections in the stacks, barefoot and lying on the cool tile floor, reading my way straight through entire shelves of books. After spending hours reading in the stacks, I would check out a whole armload of books and go home to read some more. What wonderful memories!

  9. This librarian loves you and your blog. I, too, shall share, and shall book mark to read this when I have one of THOSE customer days! Just knowing people that feel the way I do about books and libraries warms the cockles of my heart.

    I am humbled by my customers. Today we were visited by a grandma and grandpa who brought their 3-4 year old grandson to read books here, as his older brother was at the Children's Hospital down the street, getting his chemo. Knocked my socks off!

  10. why, how did you know that is exactly how i feel!!!! i love book, i love libraries, i love paper....aren't we so fortunate that even in a little dinky town like mine, we have a library, lucky us!

  11. Thank you Susan! My daughter loves books, and her goal is to go to grad school to become a librarian. I will share this with her also!

  12. My weekly visit to the library is a cherished ritual. I'm an avid reader, and I love to dip into whatever subject is interesting to me at the moment. Browsing at the library is always an adventure; I never know what I'll wind up bringing home.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!