I have loved reading for so long, I can't remember a time when I didn't read. If I'm not reading something, I feel lost. Always have. When I was young my father signed me up for a book club. Every three months I would receive three books in the mail. I had them read in a week. I read whatever I could get my hands on. Newspapers, cereal boxes, packaged foods, recipes, it didn't matter, if there were words, I would read.
In third grade I was introduced to the library at school. It's location was a teeny, tiny room sandwiched between two classrooms. The fact that I found it small in third grade is an indication of how minuscule it must have been. I imagine it was originally a storage room for the classrooms that bookended it. Inside this tiny room I found magic. I never imagined one room could take me so many places. I started out by reading the entire set of Biographies of Great Americans (this is where my love of American history began) and moved on to books about China, Africa and Australia. I discovered Charles Dickens, Margaret Mitchell, Laura Ingalls Wilder and a host of others who took me places I'd never dreamed of. By the time I graduated eighth grade I had read every book in that little library. Some I didn't understand (and still don't, if I'm being truthful....O, Henry?) but most I loved and read more than once.
One of the happiest times of my life was when I introduced my young children to the public library. They had an excellent summer reading program of which we took full advantage. We spent lots of time in that library, listening to stories being read, picking out books to take home and soaking up the cool air (that's important here in desert land!). Through my children I discovered new authors like Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg, Shel Silverstein and a host of others who delighted not only my children but me as well. While not all my children became as avid a reader as I, I know the time spent in the library fostered an appreciation of the written word and how powerful it is.
I love everything about libraries. The smell, the quiet, the solitude, and yes the cool air. I have found so many wonderful stories I would never have known about had it not been for just wondering through the library, looking at books. I know the library has enriched my life and the lives of my children. I cannot picture my life without it. And to think it's free! So, why do I write this today? September is library card sign up month. (They have a month for everything now, don't they?) So, if you don't have a library card, go sign up for one. If you have one, take a friend who doesn't have one and sign them up. Discover the wonders that await you at your public library. (And no, no one paid me to write this, I'm just a nerd like that.)
Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend.
Quote for the Week:
I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
~Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)~