Library Love

The renovated branch of my hometown library [source]

Drinking: Royal Breakfast, The East India Company

The local library was my favorite place as a kid. I got my first library card at 5 and rode my bike there almost every weekend to check out as many books as fit in my backpack. At the time, our branch was in a small space in a shopping center. Now, it’s the light-filled building above.

As a shy and anxious child, the library was my refuge. I could live hundreds of lives without worrying about impressing anyone, saying the wrong thing, or saying anything at all. It was a way to read new releases or classics without depleting my small allowance. It was a chance to find new worlds to live in. I relished summers when I could win the reading challenges and spend days reading outside. I learned so much from the pages of the books I checked out, even if I didn’t always understand it. It was at the library that I found Redwall. I went to boarding school with Camilla and camping with the Austens.

Since then, I’ve had a library card in every town I’ve lived. The library is one of the first places I look for in a new neighborhood. In a place where I don’t know many people, a library is a magical place filled with all my old friends as well as new friends to discover. It’s full of adventure, good food, and many laughs. I know that I can stop into a library anywhere and be at home. One of the best volunteer gigs I ever had was at a library reference desk on Saturday mornings. It was wonderful and relaxing to be surrounded by knowledge on a regular basis.

These days, I don’t get to my local branch often, but I still check out books constantly through Overdrive. I love that even when I can’t go in person to enjoy the atmosphere, I can still take advantage of it. Just like when I was a kid, I check out too many books and then can’t read them all before they are due. With ebooks, though, I appreciate having no fine since the book is automatically returned. I’ve only bought a few books, mostly cookbooks, after checking them out from the library. I love that even when I can’t go in person to enjoy the atmosphere, I can still take advantage of it. I have always been one to share books, to push the great book I just read onto others. With the library, I know that the book will be there if I want to re-read or share it, but meanwhile, someone else can enjoy it.

I’ve already located the library nearest to where we are moving next. I think it’s gong to be our first stop after dropping off the suitcases. I can’t wait to take my son to the storytimes and help him pick out new books for us to read together.

By the way, your library doesn’t just have books. Our local library has so many other benefits: computers, free wifi, English, French, and Spanish discussion groups, classes on technology, sites for ebooks, for language learning, and for music. It helps job hunters, people doing taxes, and students doing research.

The library is a community resource, and the library is home. I can’t wait to find my new home in my new city.
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