June 12, 2017

I LOVE the library.

"You can find magic wherever you look.
Sit back and relax, all you need is a book."
            -Dr. Seuss

The library has and always will be one of my favorite places. Mind you, I have a kindle and do enjoy being able to instantly download a book but there is something special, something exciting, something comforting, something, oh I don't know, something that fills all of my senses in a library. The quiet, the coolness, the cozy chairs, the sense of entering a whole new and unseen yet familiar and comforting place. I inhale and can smell the books lining the shelves and seemingly calling me to "pick me, pick me" to enter whatever strange and new world they offer. Okay....I understand that to someone who is not a bibliophile like me that sounds......well......crazy. So what if it is.

My mother took me to a branch of the Chicago Public Library on Irving Park Avenue. I was four and going for my first library card. I remember practicing writing my name over and over to be prepared. Mom took me to a kindly looking plump woman at a desk. I wrote my name slowly and carefully and the card was mine! I still remember the first book I took out with that card. It was about three reddish brown puppies. The name of the book was "Pumpkin, Ginger and Snaps". I was hooked.

In fifth grade we moved to the suburbs and going to the library regularly became a beloved routine. Each Saturday morning I headed there, read a book and then checked out the maximum books allowed. I rarely missed a Saturday morning all the way through high school.  Junior high and under you were not allowed to check out the adult books. Nancy Drew and that variety just seemed like silly drivel to me. I would choose adult books that were considered "classics" or biographies or history books and my Mom would drop by the library and check them out for me on her card. She felt pride in my reading ability but good thing she never knew how much "adult content" you can learn from the "classics"! On the rear bumper of my royal blue Schwinn bicycle I had a large clamp to hold my weekly books as I pedaled the mile home.

Now I am 65 and I love the library even more. You can check out records, magazines, movies along with the books, and they have lectures, clubs and computers!  Mostly I go to sit for a spell with a good book or magazine, or to research my hobbies and interests, strolling through the aisles to see what catches my interest on that day. The available computers are great but  I really do miss the old card catalog. More importantly the library is still my get-away place. The quiet place of refuge when I am frustrated, sad, mad, lonely, overwhelmed, confused, tired or just want to get away from everything and everybody. I go to be still, to think, to read, to find an answer, to consider my options, to make a plan..........and smell the books.

Then I am all better again.