Thursday, August 13, 2009

Booking Through Thursday--Libraries

I found an interesting Booking Through Thursday from last August, and thought I'd do it this Thursday.

Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. (There’s no way my parents could otherwise have kept up with my book habit when I was 10.) So … What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

There's a library about three blocks away from my parents house, and I went there almost daily as a child. Most of the librarians still recognize me and say hi. The library was remodeled when I was eleven or so (and boy was it a chore having to take the bus if I wanted to go to the library), so it doesn't look as it did when I was small. The children's book section was at the back of the library by the windows that look down the hill, and they always had the same stuffed animals. I have very specific memories of looking for a book on King Arthur, books on the planets, of refusing to check out Anne of Green Gables because I thought it was stupid (I've no idea where I got this notion, and I've since dispensed with it). I remember the old computers, green font on black before it was PCs, but I'm too young to have ever known card catalogs. It must have been after they remodeled that I graduated to looking in the teen section for reading material (and it was there that I first discovered Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy), and somewhere along the way I drifted out of that section and wandered into the general fiction.

The old library was red brick and very square, and downstairs they had a room where they did events like authors speaking, and I remember pretty vividly once for some reason they had a fellow who brought in pot-bellied pigs. Now the library's all modern, giant glass windows, light fixtures that look like chocolate fountains and fried eggs, but at least it's not a really annoying kind of modern. It's managed to stay cosy, especially in winter. I used to go after school (two blocks away) all the time with my mother, and on weekends with my father. I remember being very excited when I got old enough (or maybe it was just that I'd had the library card long enough) to check out as many books at a time as I wanted, instead of having a limit. It was also very exciting (many years later) when the library started being open on Sundays (which had always seemed like the best day to be there, except that it wasn't open). I always got annoyed at school when we went to the school library and they made us check things out, because I already had books from the "real" library and I didn't need more. I think I've been through two library cards, though I have a vague notion that I found the old card after I got the new one. Mine is still older than the current edition of cards, which are blue. Mine is red, but scuffed in places where it's gotten white.

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