When I was little, my mom used to take my younger brother and me to the public library. I remember entering the library and turning right to head into the children’s section. The hushed tones of patrons, who were on their own literary quests, sounded comforting to me. I’d gather a couple of storybooks and park myself on the floor. The smell of the library books’ pages intoxicated me as I flipped through them and perused the pictures to help me choose which book was the best to start with. I can recall one right now!
I can’t remember the author or the title but the story really stuck with me, and maybe it’s meant to be that I remembered this particular book today since I’m still recovering from a bad cold… A little boy catches a cold and his doctor recommends that he spend time in a warmer climate until he gets better. His mom decides to send him to visit with his aunt, who happens to live in a warm place, for a while. I could feel the warm sunshine as I read the part where the boy arrives at his aunt’s house. During his visit, the boy and his aunt spend a day at the zoo. When the boy starts to get better, his aunt treats him to an ice cream cone. The picture of the ice cream cone looked like the most delicious ice cream; the scoops of the creamy vanilla melt onto the boy’s hand as he tries to eat it before it all melts. This book and many others took me on various journeys into other worlds I could only reach via reading- no trains, planes, or ships necessary.
My love of libraries didn’t end at childhood. As a college student, I always had certain favorite spots in my library. If I was preparing for exams, I would choose a table with partitions around it, so I could stay focused on the material I was studying. No messing around- just a quiet spot for me, my notes and textbooks. On days when I was working on regular assignments, I would go to the second floor and sit at my favorite cushiony chair by the large half-moon windows. On these days, I would study and watch… I could look out wistfully on a wintry day and watch the snow cover the tree tops and the roofs of the dorms and academic buildings. In the spring, I would look forward to admiring all the flowers that were blooming around campus and watch students stroll through campus, no longer doing their speedwalks to get out of the miserable cold. I’d watch the breeze move gently through the weeping willows around the lake.
I still return to my favorite places in the college library, but I’m also lucky to live in a city with a fantastic public library. I can depend on it to find most of the mentor texts I use for my writing lessons. I visit there often to borrow books for my own reading pleasure. One summer I volunteered at my public library, assisting in a summer film festival the library hosted for kids. I am grateful for my library life! I don’t have children of my own yet, but I hope that when the day comes for me, I can share the magic with my kid(s).