Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I Heart the Public Library
I love, love, love the public library. It started when I was a kid. There was one summer growing up where my mom worked outside the home and my Grandma Isabelle watched my brother and me. Some days we would go across the street to the swimming pool or to a local park, but other days she would take us to a cafe for burgers, fries, and a Coke, followed by a trip to the Muskogee Public Library. The cafe/library days were my favorite.
If I close my eyes, I can recall the entire experience: automatic sliding doors; the whoosh! of cold air-conditioning juxtaposed against the hot, humid summer air; the smell of old, musty books; the sound and sight of the water fountain in the library's corner, under the stairs; the children's area with puppets and a puppet stand, old dolls, and thousands of books, all of which were ours for the taking. With our bellies full of cafe food, my brother and I would run to the children's area and spend entire afternoons, playing with the toys and pulling books from the shelves. Some books would be glanced at, considered, and then put back. Ten or so lucky books would make their way into our canvass packs to be checked out and taken home to read and reread until they were due back at the library.
I had my own library card - a source of great pride. I loved standing in line, waiting to check out my newest selection of books. With the librarian's stamping of the due date on the back cover of each of my books, they were mine for two whole weeks!
I'm passing on the love of the library to my entire family. I hooked my husband after clueing him in to the fact that they have books on tape (for free!). My son, who is 2 1/2, loves to go for the toddler storytime and to play in the children's area. (Tip: have an early lunch, around 11 am, then go the library from 11:45 am - 12:30 pm, as that is when it is most deserted because all the other toddlers have gone home to have lunch.) I appreciate that we can check out books and rotate the stories we read to him before bed. While he may never tire of The Pokey Little Puppy, I occasionally need to mix it up with other books the library has in stock.
My favorite sections? The librarian's choice bookshelf, because it contains the real gems, picked by the most book-loving of them all. Now I know I must have been a librarian in a past life.