Friday, August 28, 2015

I have read several articles regarding libraries lately and it has caused me to think about all my adventures in libraries.

When I was a little girl, many, many, years ago, I played library in my yard.  I would take a little book shelf outside and bring books from our bookshelves out to the yard shelf.  My neighbors would come over and I would pretend to check out the books to them.  I’d write down their name and the name of the book and tell them when the due date was.  Some took the books home, others just turned right back around and returned the book and choose another.  Of course, when my mother discovered that I was loaning out our few books, I was made to stop playing library.

We didn’t really have all that many books.  We had a very old set of encyclopedia.  (I still to this day sing that Disney song when I write the word “encyclopedia”.)  I remember Grimm’s Fairy Tales and maybe ten or twelve other books.  I know we had several copies of the Bible.

My first memory of a library was at school.  I was amazed that we could get books and take them home.  My mom did read to me when I was young.

The Reading Mother
Strickland Gillilan

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings--
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be--
I had a Mother who read to me.
I have always adored that poem and wanted to share it with you.

As a teenager, my best friend and I would be taken to the library every weekend by her mother, Mabel.  I adored Mabel (but that is another blog to be written).  I remember reading Beany Malone stories.  I can’t remember much of the plots but I think they were kind of like Scooby Doo sans dog.

I graduated into Victorian gothic novels when I was in high school.  After that I read things required for school and discovered The Ugly American, 1984, Animal Farm, Catcher in the Rye and then the ultimate – Atlas Shrugged.

I used to go to the library at college and listen to albums on the headphones.  My roommate who worked the front desk would come back to shushed me up.  Evidently I was singing at the top of my lungs and didn’t realize it.  I believe this happened more than once.

My first job at college was in the language library.  I doled out Spanish, German and other reel to reel tapes of language practice to the students taking the classes.  When they broke I would have to splice them back together.  I have to believe this messed up some foreign words, wouldn’t you think?

After college I discovered spy and war novels.  The Dirty Dozen was one of my favorites.  I consumed Len Deighton, Desmond Bagley, Frederick Forsythe, just to name a few.  If you have never read Shibumi, you must.

When I had children I took them to the library in downtown Dayton.  It was wonderful.  Three floors of books and they were all mine for the taking.  We checked out tons of books in those years we lived in Dayton.  Once I discovered that Addi had written in one of the books.  I got it erased pretty well but when we took the books back I made Addi confess to the librarian.  It took strength and a few tears but she finally explained and apologized to the librarian and I am pretty sure she never wrote in a library book again.

When we moved to Illinois I found out that we were in such a district that we could not get a library card for free.  I purchased a library card for the Rockford library each year.  I believe the last one was $120.00.  When the girls went to college I dropped the library card.

I had purchased and saved many paperback novels over the years and I yearned for a library in our loft.  One year for Christmas the hubster asked what I wanted for Christmas and I told him, “a library in the loft.”  Ta da -- Library in the loft.  I have alphabetized all the books in our library.  At last count we had 918 books and that is not counting the bookshelf of informational books, college textbooks (why did I keep those?) and National Geographic magazines.

I took my first internet class at the North Suburban Library in Rockford.  I leaned all about surfing the internet.  I also hit my only porno site during that class and I was so embarrassed I could have died.  This little old lady next to me about fainted.

I believe Addi still owes $20.00 to that North Suburban Library.

In the past ten years or so I have taken to people books.  I like books about a character, what they think and do and their interactions with others.  Some of my favorites are:  The Shipping News, The Red Garden, The Life of Pi, and Shibumi.  You just have to read Shibumi – it is about a spy who goes caving with the greatest character ever written.  He and his Japanese lover have fifth dimension sex.  It is so cool.

I became a Kindle reader about three years ago but still read an occasional real book.  I joined a Master Gardener Book Club this year and almost all the books we read are real books.  And we meet during the winter at the Freeport library.  We have our own little conference room and it is so much fun talking about our reading experience and what we came away with from the book.

I really want to read the new Harper Lee book, Go Set a Watchman.  I’ve been thinking that I should just go to the library and find a comfy chair and start reading.  An hour here and an hour there and pretty soon I finished the book, didn’t have to buy it, store it or dust it.
I love libraries!

1 comment:

  1. I don't remember shushing you - but I do remember that I got shushed by Mrs. Brown (the CHIEF librarian there at the Gardner-Harvey Library) for talking too loudly when I was doing a group study at the library. Something about how I needed to set an example since I worked there. To this day, the library is a magical place for me - I never know when I will stumble on a book that will send me to another world.