My love affair with libraries started when I was very young.
I grew up in a town with a library housed in a section of a big fancy estate that had been donated to the town. It had giant leaded glass windows, window seats, balconies, nooks and crannies and a beautiful children’s room which opened to a back garden maze.
Every space was filled with books, multicolored doors to explore the world and imagination.
I spent many blissful hours reading and daydreaming.
I still find myself wandering this library in my dreams.
My childhood library was a refuge and a bridge to opportunities.
Whenever I could, I escaped the chaos at home and rode my rusty red bike to hide in the peace and possibility the library offered. The librarians engaged and encouraged.
They noticed me.
“We have a special program tomorrow, do you want to come?”
“Look, here’s another mystery you might like.”
“Oh, did you know we have an entire room filled with travel books, come on I’ll show you where it is.”
“Hey, Lisa, we just got this brand new book on scholarships. Take a look.”
Expanding My Library Love
When I went off to Duke ( I got those scholarships from the book), I explored every library on campus. It was one of the smaller libraries that I kept returning to for quiet study and solace when I needed it. When I moved to Seattle I couldn’t believe the wealth of offerings and variety in the neighborhood branches and in the big downtown central library. I was hooked. Libraries were my frugal but fun destination.
Of course, when we moved to Winters the library was almost our first stop. We got involved in the local Friends of the Library group. The library is a great first point of connection in any new place. We went for books and left with a new community of friends and service. Our volunteer work has helped us even more than it helped the library.
When I taught, I always took my students on class visits to introduce them to the added support and life long learning opportunities the library provides. I made “go to the library to check out any book you like” a weekly homework assignment.
When we were unschooling the library was a best bet for resources and a great location for gatherings with other learners. We could always get out of the house and relax while getting giant stacks of books on any new topics that caught our interest. For free.
Visiting the local library is now part of my itinerary no matter where I go. Tiny or massive, ancient or modern I visit libraries even if I only can pop in for a few minutes. I love to poke my nose in and see what’s happening.
Comparing, getting new ideas, learning.
I check all the rooms, book, displays, Friends Book Sale area, sitting areas. I love to get the sense and feel of each place to see what great ideas they have that I can bring home. I soak it all in and get my library high.
I guess you could say my childhood library was my gateway drug to a life of literacy, learning and love. Love of books, friends, discovery and connection.
I am sure that my library changed my direction in life. Sometimes I feel like it saved my life.
Please help me support my local library. In my small town our library, the warmth of the staff, programs for toddlers to teens, and free access to books, the internet and information are also transforming lives. Welcome and free access to all. I know how important that is when I see the parking lot full in our rural community, after hours, for access to the free and stable wifi.
At wfol.org you can read many moving stories from people who’s lives have improved from library programs and connection. The impact goes far beyond the wall of the library building and the stacks of books.
What questions have libraries helped you answer?
Will you help keep the doors to learning open?
Thank you so much. Lisa