Sunday, February 26, 2012

I used to love libraries ..

Let me hasten to say, I still feel libraries are valuable resources in a community and I heartily support them. But I just don't get to the library any more. If I can download a book to my Kindle, why go check one out? And I buy the magazines I want, and the newspapers, so ...

I did visit local libraries when we first moved to town because our WiFi wasn't hooked up yet. So I would go to the library and use theirs most of the day in order to stay connected at work.

I grew up with the library in my home town. My mother was the acquisition person for children's books, mysteries, and non-fiction, so she would buy books then bring them home to read before shelving them. I cut my teeth on John Creasy, Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, and Ian Fleming. I loved Nancy Drew, who wore frocks and pumps and drove a roadster. I still remember one very slim John Creasy book where the hero saves the world -- literally -- from burning up. The book was maybe 250 pages long but there was a ton of action in there. And let's not forget Leslie Charteris' The Saint (Simon Templar), Creasy's The Baron, Ngaio Marsh's Alleyn, and Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey.

Those were the books that I read growing up. I missed out on the Little House books, most of romance novels (although I loved Anya Seton and Mary Stewart's The Ivy Tree might be my favorite romance/mystery of all time). These authors obviously influenced where I am today, and I have my library to thank for that.

I wonder if children growing up today will have the same relationship to The Story. I know they won't have that relationship to a book -- holding one in the hand to read as you sit in a tree overhanging a stream (as I often did). And I wonder if The Library will continue to evolve to accommodate changing needs, becoming 'media centers' to feed the need for passive entertainment.

I'm glad I grew up when I did because I had that chance to go into a cool, shady, mysterious building run by grownups and come out with worlds in my arms. Then I ran away to escape for hours at a time as I used words to create pictures in my head. Movies? That was for special occasions, maybe once a month. TV? My parents controlled the TV and doled it out in small chunks.

But books: books were daily enjoyment for me. And I have my library to thank for that.

4 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

It was a different world indeed, JL. We had two channels on the TV, no video games, no Wee, No DVD's (or even VCR's.)Reading was our escape, and libraries provided the path...

Barbara Edwards said...

I agree children don't know the library we grew up with. Its another remember when thing. Sigh.
Barbara

Vonnie Davis said...

When my son got home from work the other day, his 13-year old son met him at the door, waving a book. "Dad, look what I found at the library today." Ryan, our football-playing-wrestling-math-geek was beaming with excitement. It was a book about careers where employees worked with numbers all day. I think parents have to make going to the library a special experience. Kudos to those who do. Even with those extra pains, some kids just won't enjoy it. Sad, isn't it?

JenaGalifany said...

I lived three blocks from the library and my mother could stand in the front door of our house and watch us walk there. I spent hours in the cool building on hot summer days, reading and meeting up with neighborhood friends. I miss those days! Thanks for bringing it to mind.