A Note on Public Libraries and What a Good Book Can Do

Growing up I loved going to the library. There was something so enchanting about picking out my books for the next few weeks and having the cards in the back of the book stamped with the due date. When I opened the books it was just as magical; I loved the sound the plastic taped to the cover made when i opened the book.

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In Belleville my grandmother would walk with us to the public library to rent movies to watch with her during the week. But in junior high I fell out of touch with the public library and really only used the school library when I absolutely had to. Even as a class we didn’t spend a whole lot of time in there either.

In high school I enjoyed visiting to library to visit with Marti, our sweet librarian. We would swap stories and notes on the books we were reading and she would recommend books that she thought I would enjoy. At the time it was The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks. I know most of you are thinking to yourself, “Ugh, what emotional pornography! How could you read that!”

I don’t care. It was the first book that really and truly got me to love reading. It was the first book that I read cover to cover in one sitting and realized that a good book really can transport you to a different world.

Again – I realize I am talking about The Notebook here but keep in mind that I was a junior in high school and was looking for something off the required reading list. (Although I really did enjoy our required reading as a junior and senior.)

Reading also gave me and my grandmother something to talk about that was ours. After I read The Notebook I told her about it. She walked down to the public library and picked it up and read it cover to cover. And then we talked about it and started recommending books to each other. She loves to tell me about the book she is currently reading or just read. However she tells me the whole story and all the details so I usually don’t even have to read the book. But she gets a joy out of telling me about the book and I enjoy listening to her.

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In college I used the library for studying and research but at that point I could find most of what I needed online and if you were at the library on west campus at A&M past 10:00pm it turned into a party with lots of chatter and not a lot of studying.

Once I moved to San Antonio Matthew and I got library cards to save a little money. We both love to read and buying books can get expensive. For a while we loved going to the library and perusing the stacks, looking for our next enthralling read, and walking the grounds at Landa. Unfortunately we started to fall out of love with the library. It always seemed like everything I wanted to read, the entire city of San Antonio also wanted to read. I would put my name on the list behind 17 other people waiting for the one copy of the book to become available. By the time my name came up on the list I either was already reading something else that I didn’t want to put down or I just didn’t have the time to read it. I tried to check out one book from a list of five and all of them had long waiting lists. They weren’t particularly new books but they didn’t have any of them available and I fell out of love with the public library.

This past weekend with Bekah and Amanda I was reminded of my old love and have vowed to give it another shot. I have a long list of books I want to read so I’ll just start adding my name to the lists again.

Here’s to a lifetime of happy reading.

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2 thoughts on “A Note on Public Libraries and What a Good Book Can Do

  1. This post sparked a lengthy conversation between Mark and I about the library! I loved the library growing up, and now I am motivated to find one near where we live. There are few things that compare to the thrill of getting lost in a wonderful story!

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