I don’t know about you, but I remember getting my own library card like it was yesterday. We had two libraries in my town, too. The little library near my house, and the “big” library I had to hop on my bike and pedal hard and fast to get to. In fact, I remember telling my parents that I was going to a friend’s house and riding to the big library instead. We won’t talk about the fall-out of that particular escapade.
|The “Little” Library|
When I was growing up young adult fiction wasn’t the phenomenon it is today, so the books I borrowed were largely of the Sweet Valley High variety. Everything else–Nancy Drew, The Giver, The Goosebumps books–I read at school. There were a few gems that I remember to this day, but by and large? My memory of going to the library isn’t of individual books, it’s of the packed shelves, the hushed atmosphere and the promise of plenty to read.
|The “Big” Library|
The library supplied most of my bookish wants through high school. During this time I read a lot of James Patterson–whom I can no longer stand. There was a brief intermission when I was ten. I lost a book and was too scared to tell the librarian about it, so I avoided the library altogether. During college, I was mainly preoccupied with required reading. It wasn’t until Spring Break of my junior year that I visited my university’s library to borrow a book to read on the plane ride home. It was the first time I’d gone and actually checked out a book. Even then, most research was online. It was with that book (Pride and Prejudice) that my love of libraries reasserted itself.
|The Storytelling Chair at the “big” library.|
Right now, I mainly use the library for checking out audiobooks. I own so many unread novels that whenever I do check something out of the library, that the book is due before I’ve even gotten around to thinking about reading it. However rarely I might check out a physical book, I still had a panic attack when my library card expired, thus locking me out of my online account. To further give you a sense of the library’s importance to me, I report that I keep it between my driver’s license and my debit card. It’s still the same strip of plastic with the childish signature I painstakingly scrawled upon it when I was fourteen (the last time I lost my library card).
In my classroom, I go into paroxysms of horror when my students tell me they a) don’t have a library card and b) never, ever go to the library. They–and I admit to having this problem myself–don’t think much of “renting” books. They want to own them, and with their childish lack of understanding about how money works, they can’t comprehend why everyone doesn’t just go to Barnes & Noble. I tell them I think libraries are awesome (I don’t use “fawesome” in the classroom). And that that’s why I continue to support them by racking up late fees.
I didn’t conceive this discussion post as an ode to libraries, but that’s kind of what it’s turned out to be. At any rate, let’s talk libraries!
- Do you remember the one you went to as a kid?
- Do you borrow books often?
- How often do you go?
- Do you take your kids? (If you have them, of course.)
- What’s the best library you’ve ever been to?
Do you have a discussion going on your blog? Or know of one you think others might be interested it? Leave a link to it here so we can check it out!
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