Sunday, October 23, 2011

My First Library

There is a little library in my home town.  It's a red brick building within walking distance of my childhood home and the house where I live now.  When I was a young child, my grandfather used to take me to the library and help me carry out my brown paper grocery bag full of books.  When I was older, I rode my purple bike to the library, or walked.  There's a an old metal mailbox outside the library's front entrance.  The mailbox is painted green and is now the book return.  The library's double doors are heavy, dark wood that a kid has to make an effort to wrestle open.  Then there's a step up into the library, and the overwhelming smell of old books...a combination of mustiness and dust.  There is a wooden circulation desk with an office behind it, one librarian, three rooms of adult books, and one room of children's and young adult books.  When I was a child, they did not use the term "young adult".  If it wasn't a picture book, it was classified as "juvenile".

My high school friend, who now lives across the street from me, came over today and asked if I'd like to walk to the library with her and her young daughter.  I hadn't been to the library since I came back home.  I was afraid to go back because surely, it would all be different, all new, all perfect, and my beloved musty library with its shabby old Nancy Drew books would just be a memory.

But I walked in, and it was exactly the same.  I smelled library as soon as we walked through the doors.  I went straight to the children's/juvenile room and got down on my knees and there were my Nancy Drew books.  I took them off the shelf, one after the other, and found my name written on the date due cards in the back, with stamped dates from twenty-five years ago.

And magically, they were having a book sale, and if your name was on the date due card, you got the book for half off.  Unfortunately, the Nancy Drew books weren't for sale, but I did manage to find three books that I checked out all those years ago:

I went to the library so much that I didn't even have to write my last name.  Apparently, so did Jessica.

I signed up for a new library card but didn't actually get a card.  They're still using the same card catalogue version of filing.  The librarian said she just had to remember that I "had a card".

Some things never change, thank God.

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