Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Loving Books: The Library

I don't have a book review this week. Ahab's Wife was a very long book and I have not read as many books this month as is typical for me. Therefore, I'm going to comment not on a particular book, but on my relationship with books in general.

I grew up in a home filled with books. We had a set of Collier's encyclopedias which I loved to thumb through and look at the pictures even before I could really read the articles. We received a new update every year. We bought books for souvenirs when we traveled. Visiting bookstores was a regular stop whenever we went to the shopping center (that was before there was a "mall".)

But when I was really little, the main source of reading material was the amazing and wonderful Library.

My dad took me to the library with him before I could read. He checked out picture books for me or story books for him and Mom to read to me. After I started to elementary school, he arranged for me to take out my first library card before I could sign my name in cursive. Going to the library or even visiting the bookmobile that came to our school was an almost religious experience for me. It still is. I've never walked into a library without feeling that I was on sacred ground.

There is something about a library that make me feel as though a new and amazing discovery is waiting for me, all I have to do is stumble upon it. I love everything about a library. It appeals to my curiosity and love of learning, my love of words – and, not the least, my cheapness.

The first book I ever checked out from the library was a book called Cowboy Bob and Sam. (Sam was Cowboy Bob's horse.) I think it was a series. I have no idea what the story was about, but I can still see the cover clearly, and I can still feel my pride at checking out an actual book by myself instead of having my dad put my books on his library card.

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