When I was a kid, growing up in Phoenix, the closest library was the big one downtown on Central Avenue - the Phoenix Public Library. It was an all day adventure. Someone would volunteer their mother to drop us off and another mother would pick us up hours later.
The first time was a field trip in grade school and the place was daunting - the building was mammoth, the card catalog huge and I had no idea how to use the Dewey Decimal System. I couldn't wait to go back on my own. The dark green marble floors were shiny, the chairs tucked in nooks and crannies were plush and the librarians so learned. Most of the time I wondered around lost, but I loved it.
Along the sidewalk on the Central Avenue side, huge oranges hung ripe from thickly leafed trees. My cousin Jerry and I decided we had to have one of those oranges. We made a plan. We waited until we saw my aunt pull up to the sidewalk and as we dashed to the car, we grabbed an orange and tucked them into our book bags. Have you ever tried to eat an ornamental orange?
|My first book's first library siting!|
In high school, the library was so lacking that trips to the Phoenix Public Library on Central Avenue were still necessary. And the attraction of the place broadened a bit. I didn't have a car but my friend Judy did - a cute powder blue mustang. Cruising Central Avenue in a mustang and stopping for fries and a shake, made going to the library to research a paper worthwhile. The guys hanging out at the library didn't hurt either. No wonder the smell of a book is so sensual!
After I was married, I worked at the army library in Germany. Getting that job thrilled me. The lady that trained me made a great many assumptions about my library knowledge. Little did she know I still didn't understand the Dewey Decimal System. But I didn't care. I roamed around the tiny library and breathed deep. Then the second hour came along. Apologies to all the librarians I greatly admire, but this was one of my most boring jobs. I'm not sure what it says for G.I's, but the place didn't get much traffic. I did get to do a lot of my own reading.
Not having kids at home anymore, I'm not sure how often they get to the library.So much research and reading is done on the Internet now. And I'm not knocking it. I spend a great deal of time on the Internet. There are advantages. But you miss so many things - the librarians, the Dewey Decimal System, the boys and especially the smell.
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