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Booking Through Thursday: Libraries

April 2, 2009

btt2How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

Sadly, I haven’t been to a library in years (gasp!). My school library is incredibly pathetic for such a grand university (please note the sarcasm) and gets over run during midterms and finals, so I tend to avoid it. Because of my obsessive need to keep books I love, I am mostly a bookstore kind of girl these days. Thank heaven for gift cards!

However, I wasn’t always like this. One of my most vivid childhood memories is of running into the town library during a unbearably muggy summer day. Where I grew up, it would get so hot and humid that you couldn’t tell if the moisture on your skin was sweat or condensation or both, but still most people didn’t have air conditioning. The library did though, so pushing through those double doors was like the doorway from hell into heaven. The library had a summer program each year that gave prizes based on the number of pages read.ย  Every year there was a different theme and as you reached a landmark, you got a prize and to add something to your little placard (read: index card). I loved the visual display of my reading success and most summers I had multiple entries completed.

My mom’s friendship with an older librarian was as an act of desperation more than amiability. Looking back now, I see myself is a rabid little monster, tearing into every book I could get my hands on with such voracity, no one would get their hands too close or risk getting bitten. The librarian, Mrs. Shoemaker (real name, I couldn’t make that up), took up my mother’s plight to keep fresh books in my grubby little hands and at least once a week, I would come in to find a stack of books waiting for me behind her desk. I would pile them into my arms, tottle over to the check out counter and struggle to push them all up into a counter significantly taller than I was. While the check out librarian was scanning each book in my stack and making small talk with my mother, I would escape and find a few more to add while my mom pretended to fight me on it. When it comes to asking for books, its incredibly hard to say no to a big-eyed, blonde-pigtailed girl and I knew it.

Trouble started when I finished the children’s section, the YA section and the teens section by the time I was 13. Around the same time, Mrs. Shoemaker retired and recommended the local bookstore owner, Patsy, to be my new source of recommendations. The fact that my brother would ONLY read shiny new books and that I had more or less polished off the appropriate books at the library ushered in the era of New Books Only, also known as, Should-Have-Bought-B&N-Stock. I’ve never been quite able to go back, but those library memories will always follow me fondly. I’ve still got that little book monster in me and libraries certainly unleash it.

girlThat being said, I’d like to mention one ofย  my favorite causes: childhood literacy. Obviously, most of our lives have been shaped by the availability of books, because we wouldn’t be readers without books. Clicking here will donate a book to underprivileged children across the country. That’s all you have to do. Just click and poof! a book is donated!ย  I make it a habit of clicking at least once daily, so please take the time to click here now. Thanks everyone!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2009 1:03 pm

    I knew a Mrs. Shoemaker, too! She was my science teacher in high school, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I really enjoyed reading your library memories! Like you, I spent a lot of time there as a child and student — but now get my books new from a bookstore or used through BookMooch. I’m also eager to keep the books I love forever and ever — it’s just important to me to know they’re mine! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I love being able to share them with family or friends when I feel they’re really worth passing along.

  2. April 2, 2009 2:45 pm

    I loved this post!!! Yes the library is a tough one for me too because I couldn’t pick just a few, I want all of them. Of course the same problem at a book store and I spend a fortune every time I visit one either online or in person.

    I’m so excited to have found all of you wonderful bloggers that share the same passion for books I do!

    • April 2, 2009 4:21 pm

      Isn’t it wonderful to know that there are others out there like you?! Thanks for the comments Megan and Stephanie! ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. April 4, 2009 12:52 am

    I have fond memories of the library when I was a child too. It was my home away from home. ๐Ÿ™‚ I turned to bookstores after I finished college and it’s been a while since I’ve set foot in a library now. I do have a library card though! Just in case. ๐Ÿ™‚

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