Who remembers their first library? Not the first visit to a library, but the first library that you claimed as yours. Where you realized that it contained a whole bunch of books that could and would transport you to other worlds.
My first library was a little neighborhood one. About the size of a smallish 7-11, situated in a strip mall, it was where my love for books blossomed. I didn’t know it at the time, but as my ever ranging interests started casting a wider and wider net, the librarian called my mom.
I was in fourth grade, and checking out adult books.
But oh! Those books! Some were romances (the Harlequin romances of the 70’s were A LOT sweeter than they are now). Some were sci-fi or fantasy. Some were plain old fiction. I had already devoured A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, all the Little House Books. My brain was wide open, and at this point… my mom could have done something different.
But she opted to let me read what I wanted. It was a different time, back then. There wasn’t quite as much chance of anyone getting an inappropriate book in a public library. And I am sooo thankful.
Books are magical things. They open up windows into new worlds– sometimes doorways into a new life. But there has to be that one place where your imagination catches on fire.
For me, it was in what would become a bakery, sitting on bean bag chairs, reading adult fiction. They closed that particular library a few years later. They made a huge library, a modern one, and closed down all the little neighborhood libraries.
It was never as much fun.
Yes, they had all those books. But I could no longer go at least once a week. I had to be driven over there, I couldn’t walk. And the nice librarian was no where to be found in there… Just a lot of strangers.
I miss the neighborhood libraries. But I have to admit, I do love the large stacks of books in the main library.
How about you? Where did you fall in love with books?
PS– found a great fantasy novel about a librarian who pulls magic out of books, which inspired this post. I’ll review it later in the week. If no one else gets the stomach flu (please please please).