Sunday, January 18, 2009

read is to read as ride is to rode

I love libraries. They smell and look and feel like books. I love books. When I was a kid, my mom took us to the library every month. We spent some time picking out the books we wanted to take home with us, and then the next month we'd go back for more. As soon as we got home from the library either my brother or I was responsible for writing out a list of all the books we'd brought home with us. Then before we returned them the following month we'd have to cross each one off the list to make sure that none were forgotten. Once in awhile there would be a book missing and we'd have to search the house to find it and cross it off the list.

Our books were never late either. My mom made sure they went back on the exact day they were due. This fact impresses me now that I'm responsible for returning my own books. Mine are frequently late. Knowing this about myself would have appalled me when I was young.

I remember getting my first library card. It was red. It was mine. I tried to write my name on it as neatly as possible. A few years later I hated that handwriting. It was too sloppy and a bit crooked. I'm quite particular about handwriting.

One month during the summer when I was still elementary school aged - maybe 5th or 6th grade - I went nuts. I checked out about 30 books - actual books with chapters. When I presented the pile to my mom as we were getting ready to check out, I almost expected her to tell me no. I thought she might make me put some of them back. But she didn't. She let me try. I really thought I would get through them all too. I did pretty well, but at the end of the month several books had to be returned unread.

When I was in junior high I went through a Mary Higgens Clark phase. It was all I read for some time. My mom tried to get me to branch out - told me I should try reading a wider variety of books, made suggestions. But she never told me I couldn't read them. There was never a book she told me I couldn't read.

Once for a school project, my mom took me to the university library to gather information. It was huge. I was impressed that anyone would know how to find their way around. I was impressed that my mom knew how to find her way around. Then when I was in college I was impressed with the size of the library at my university. I spent plenty of time between classes browsing, reading, sleeping, or writing in the library. One day I accidentally wandered into an entire room devoted to books about classical music. A whole room. I was in love.

When Ryan and I moved to Georgia the first thing I did was find the library. In a place that was unfamiliar and where I knew no one, the library was the most comfortable and welcoming place. I also had literally nothing else to do but read and wait. I was waiting for Ava to come, waiting for R who was working 14 hours a day, waiting for our time in Georgia to end. Just waiting...and reading.

I want Ava to love the library, or I at least want her to see all the things there are to love about it. There is a great library close to us now. It's big and wonderful, and every time I step inside I'm struck by all the possibilities - all the choices. R and I took Ava just yesterday. We chanced upon a storytime in the children's book room. Afterwards they did a craft - she made a paint brush. As we were walking home she painted every surface we passed. I think she had fun. I hope she remembers it started at the library.

4 comments:

Julieshoe said...

Reading this just makes me want to smell a book right now, a secret obsession of mine. I too share your love of books, I often slept with all of mine when I was little.

Missa said...

What a lovely account of your memories of the library :)

I've just started taking Clover to our local library which is within walking distance from our house. We've been checking out the card books. Last time I let her get one book with real pages to see how it would go. So far the book is still intact!

Grace said...

I want to learn to make such lovely crafts as faux paint brushes.

Home Girl said...

thanks for stopping by my blog. lovely to discover yours - always exciting to discover another fashiony mum. i love your photography and writing, so poetic! gorgous shot of your daughter with the v cool paintbrush - hope u put it up on the wall x