I figured I’d talk about one of my favorite places today. A place once known for being a temple to the divine word, which, at least at my local branches, is also a community center for all ages. Today is the letter L and, for me, L is for Libraries!
I don’t know about you, but books have always been my jam. I grew up surrounded by books because everyone else in my family loved them. I would be playing with a doll in the floor in the living room, and the rest of my family would be absorbed in whatever they were reading. What was so fascinating about them? Why didn’t opening them transport me the way it seemed to do to my parents and my older brother? I loved the idea of books, and was incredibly impatient to learn how to read. But even with all of my impatience, I didn’t learn to read until I was 6 years old. So many years of slowly sounding out words and then, suddenly I was getting it! The transition from reading aloud to reading silently was faster. Mostly because my reading aloud was not very conducive to the rest of the family getting to read their own books. I still remember when it happened. It was Syd Hoff’s Sammy the Seal and I was shocked when I realized my mouth hadn’t even moved while I read.
I was very lucky to be surrounded by books and book readers growing up, but even so, the thing that really helped was visits to the library. Every week or so, we’d go, I’d pick a bunch of books and then devour them whole like a good little bookworm. I still go every few weeks to my local library and indulge myself in fiction and every research book I can snag for a bit of intensive reading.
Libraries have evolved from the silent places of reading and studying from my youth, into spaces where kids can get tutoring, anyone can learn to use a computer, or update their resume, or learn something new, or meet and listen to authors speak, or any other of many possible opportunities. I love that libraries can be there as an option for people who don’t have access to lots of books, and I love that libraries can offer a community center for pretty much anyone who wants to use it. So this is my little shout out to the libraries that got me reading and continue to provide me with books to this day. Support your local library!
What are your memories of reading growing up? Did you also love your library or is it just me?