My love of books and reading started very early in life. I loved to crawl onto mom's lap and have her read me a story and I have vague memories of story time at the our tiny town library. In my elementary school years (that's grammar school for you easterners) I remember coming to town in the summer to go swimming and then over to the library, then of course to the store for ice cream before heading home. I remember enjoying sitting in my room as a kid, reading for hours- not sure if it really was for hours but that's what I remember.
I'm not sure if my adoration of books and all printed materials fuels my love affair with libraries or if it merely because a library is where I can be surrounded by literature and people are required to be quiet.
In high school, many a lunch hour was spent socializing with friends in the school library. I remember flirting with this one boy in the library. He was sitting next to me and secretly had his hand on my knee under the table. Ah to be young again…. But I digress.
I really loved the library at college (Southern Oregon University). It seemed so big to me and had multiple levels with study desks next to windows where you could watch people, ahhhh. And full of so much information! Books on subjects I never could have imagined, magazines I had never heard of, the possibilities were endless. But isn't that what college is all about?
When I moved to Connecticut, got a job and had a place of my own I would go to the library on the weekends as I didn't have any friends yet. In the 14 years I spent in Connecticut I spent time in a total of five different libraries.I didn't realize it then, but man I was spoiled by those libraries. They stocked all sorts of books on the topics I enjoying learning about. Plus you could request books from bigger libraries and your card was good at any library in the entire state! Even the smaller towns had impressively beautiful, cozy libraries that beckoned you to settle in for a few hours.
Now that I am back in Eastern Oregon where there is not a lot of activity, I headed to the library. Now our little town (pop. approx. 400) library has come a long way from the little room of my childhood. They now have free wifi and two brand new computers for public use. They have expanded in space and stock many of the books that are popular plus offer the ability to check out books on your eReader. So with all of these advancements I was amused to find out that you still check out a book in the old fashioned way- with a card from the back of the book. Anyone remember these?
On top of the book check out, the library does not currently issue library cards. Wanting to checkout books from other libraries in the area, those posed a challenge. I ended up paying for a temporary library card from another branch. Now don't think that our little library is a lost cause. We are actually gearing up to bar code all of our books and issue library cards with bar codes as well! On top of that, I am working on creating a new logo for them and helping set up their Facebook page.
Wait, I think I have gone a bit off track from the whole topic of my post.
Despite what my rural, small town library may be lacking when compared to the libraries of my past I find myself looking forward to the one day a month when it is my turn to volunteer here. While I am alone often during the week and weekends, there is something about sitting here alone in the library at 6 p.m. that gives me joy. Get out there and find the joy in your local library!