How I ♥ public libraries, especially
the big, downtown ones like Columbia’s largely glass structure on Assembly Street. There are trees growing inside it, planted at thelower level where the kids’ stuff is and growing up through the main level. Very cool. The kids’ section is called “The Wild Place for Children;” huge reproductions of thecharacters from beloved Maurice Sendak’s beloved book adorn thewalls.
thepeople you see! Grand diversity of cultures and personalities. Cheerful, competent staff eager to help. Parents conscientiously and gladly guiding their children into literature and the arts.
And, for several decades now, lots of people in transition, living on
the street, needing a place to be through heat, hail, and cold. They use resources to search for jobs and houses, etc. Uniformed security guards have become standard along with that socioeconomic development. I wonder at thechange in the mission of libraries to include this population, many of whom are living on sharp edges of mental illness, poverty, and who-knows-what. Quite thechallenge, but I appreciate what seems to be an effective effort to accommodate those in need and consider my taxes well-spent in that regard.
I stopped by to get materials for summer learning with a student I tutor, and was, once again, pulled forward by techno-progress. Expecting to check out compact disks of educational games and programs,
the staff provided instead a list of websites on their website. Of course. So much easier. kahnacademy.com and coolmath.com, here we come!
Once upon a time circa 1983, I had a techno-progress moment in my public library in Lionville PA that nearly sent me under. The card catalog had been replaced with an online catalog. From one week to
the next that had happened! I was incredulous, disoriented. That was during my full-time mo thering stint, and I’d never done anything with a computer. I stood in line waiting for a terminal, blinking back tears and thinking that if I could just pull out a drawer from the card catalog I’d be checking out my book by now. Wow. That was lots of history ago, wasn’t it?
My library in
loaned out artwork. There was a gallery of beautifully framed paintings in Albany GA thebasement, over a hundred of them, and my 4-year-old would select one and enjoy it hanging in her room for thethree weeks until it was due back. Degas’s ballerinas I particularly remember. I only censored her choice once—a vivid, large, close-up oil of one boxer punching ano ther in thehead. Don’t you think I was right? There was blood, for goodness sake.
thebest aspects of visiting the library now—I just have to say this—is that the three books I have written are on the shelves. All three were checked out this time, and that’s the way I like it. But there’s also great pleasure in seeing them in thecollection, waiting for a reader. They’re next to Karin Fossum. She’s a Norwegian mystery writer, pretty good, I think—and it’s very possible that we’re related.
Do you still go to
thelibrary in this day of downloading books or buying them online? Do you have any stories or memories about public libraries? (Remember, the names of all who enter comments between now and June 30 will be put in a drawing for a Sunday by Sunday gift set. Your chances of winning are very high as no one has commented yet! C’mon. I know you have a thought or two. Please help me get started here…)