My favorite place has always been a library, any library.
As a young girl one of my very favorite things was the Library Bookmobile. Our town was too small to have the resources for a full-scale public library, so for kids like me me the Bookmobile was a Godsend…especially in the summer months when the school libraries were closed. Any kid who had the privilege of frequenting the library-on-wheels…within walking distance of their home…can surely summon up a pang of memory at being told “the Bookmobile is in town today!” Especially thrilling was having the brightly-painted old vehicle decorated with images of books, parked in a parking lot near the center of their town. Anyone could visit the Bookmobile, and borrow several books to take home and read.
I recall sitting on the step of the bookmobile, reading books like the Bobbsey Twins, which was my favorite series. In fact recently, in the last four or five years maybe, I collected Bobbsey Twins volumes by buying them online. I have a least 20 now, although I have not read any of them recently. Back inside the Bookmobile, I decided that I would read all of the books on the built-in shelves. The librarian (and driver of the vehicle) seemed impressed by my ambitious reading agenda, although she explained about appropriate materials for 10-year-olds, and how the collection she had with her was limited in size.
Later, as a young secretary working in the city in the early 1950s, and living downtown in a residence for “working women,” I spent a lot of time in the Cleveland Public Library, which was a vast canyon of a structure. The library contained many books on many subjects, but the one I was most into was…. poetry and Shakespeare, and of course fiction. I wrote poems myself, penned into a brown notebook in my best starry-eyed girl handwriting. I would check out books, and haul as many of them as I could carry back to my room.
As a college student (decades later,) I memorized the libraries of the universities that I attended–huge, many storied-and nearly deserted much of the time in summer months. The feeling of being alone in these huge rooms on upper floors was one that I treasured…just me and basically all of the books in the world. Anyway, I spent many hours in many university libraries during the twenty years working on my History degrees.
Then there is my personal library, books that belong to me. There are books of many topics…mostly History: U.S. Civil War History, Latin American History (I have books on every country in Latin America,) our Government American Indians, South American Indians…lots of books on Mexico. Science, Mathematics, college textbooks. A small collection of children’s books; craft books; art books; needlework books; books on beads and making jewelry. There is a whole section on Words, including dictionaries of many languages…including Papago, and Maya.
hen there is a whole other thing–my book inventory for my online book business, thousands of books from my bookshops (a flea market shop, and an antique mall shop.) This endeavor doesn’t make much income, but it does satisfy my book-need. Handling, cataloguing, selling, shipping…packaging, deals with postal services and customs forms… no–not a Library, per se–although you’d never know it by looking at it.
Well, enough of that…it’s making me yearn to visit HalfPriceBooks, or a book-sale somewhere! Why the Letter L = Library to me. It also explains my mother’s lament that I always had my nose in a book. (So did She–so she ‘got it.’ )