Welcome back fellow readers to the final day in our week long celebration for National Library Week. As we close the door on this year's fun and eagerly anticipate next year's festivities, I thought it might be appropriate to ruminate on a library or two from my past.
Why not a library from my present?
Truth be told, I don't often have enough time to run to our local library despite my best efforts but I do love what they stand for in any age. An entire facility (and staff) dedicated to sharing the written words of so many with patron after patron after patron. Though today's literary castles dabble in the electronic world with audio books, eBooks, DVDs, videos, computer stations and the like...I take you back today to the libraries of MY youth.
Now before you run off snickering, there were no stone tablets or ancient monks transcribing text from passages of historical importance...it wasn't THAT long ago for crying out loud, at least not to me. It was however back when you actually had to know how to use the Dewey Decimal System and a card file to look up a book.
Wait, I'm only getting started.
There were no computers to access for title/author/keyword/subject look ups. There were no computer stations to check your email or browse the web. There was most certainly no talking above a barely discernible whisper. But oh were there books, books, books, books, BOOKS! There were stations to look at microfilm should you be inclined to view the news of yesterday or many years ago. There were plenty of areas set aside for reading and studying.
I still remember....
...we were lucky enough to have not one but TWO libraries within close range of where we lived back in PA and calling us frequent visitors would have been just grazing the subject at hand. Each weekend my Mother and I would make a point of going to one or both of our favorite haunts. Despite my young age (as according to Mom, my first library card was at the lovely age of three...hehe), I reveled in the literary majesty my eyes beheld.
One of the libraries was in an older section of town and to see it from the outside, there wasn't much one could discern about the wonders it held. Think older brick buildings without a lot of fancy facing...but inside, oh was it grand. Though the decor was classic library with dark colored furniture and rich woodwork, it was the massive amount of literary joy it held that stood out. Once you came through the front door, walked through the little "gated" area...you were facing the New Release section. Glance left and a little behind, a seating area for reading or studying. Turn your eyes left or even heavenward (okay, upstairs technically) and you were met with row after row after row of books...or stacks. You could get lost in there..and happily so!
Library number two was a newer addition to a nearby neighborhood and it held all the glamour that shiny new toys come with. The entrance gave way to light colors and natural lighting. There was a giant open room with high ceilings and three walls lined with children's titles where one could choose something off the shelve and sit on a step just below (the shelves were three steps off the "main floor") for a read. There was even a little yellow canary to bring a little more life to the room. An exploration of the rest of the building did not disappoint as you were met once again with two floors to investigate full of bookish goodness. Being built a bit more in this century, there was even an elevator to allow you the additional convenience of traversing floors should you need it.
The fact of the matter is that trips to my local libraries were a big part of my childhood and one I remember fondly. They aided me in giving my imagination something new (or old) to feast upon and it is a hobby...no, love...that I have cherished ever since. In writing this post, I did a little research to see what became of my dear old "friends". Color me shocked (though I don't know why exactly) to discover that both are now online complete with websites, blogs, and...you guessed it...Twitter accounts. They've both received major renovations since my time there (~tear~) some due to necessity (one was damaged badly by some severe weather) and some simply to keep up with the times, but in my mind's eye (at least until I ever get to visit them again) they will always retain their original glory...even if my child's mind may have build them from mere buildings into kingdoms all their own.
So, my fair readers.
Thank you for joining me on this walk down memory lane.
As we say farewell to National Library Week 2011, I would like to invite you to share a memory from your own library days in the comments below...or if you should desire, a link to your own post.
Until next time...happy reading!