...or tries to...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Library Nerd

I am a library nerd. I love them. Love love love. I belong to the county library and the city library. I still have my first grown-up library card, the one they gave me when I turned twelve.  I keep it in my wallet. When I was nine, I won the Children's Summer Reading Race, a three month bookworm marathon. All through June, July and August I watched my name move along the construction paper racetrack pinned up on the Kid's Room wall. I wanted every other fourth and fifth grader up there to eat my dust.

 I wanted to work my high school summers in the Oceanside Public Library, putting books away and stamping cards. It turned out to be the hardest job in the world to get, impossible. The librarians would  shake their heads slowly, their eyes expressionless over their reading glasses. All positions filled at this time.  All the time. For all time. I still don't know why. I would have changed my name to Dewey if they had asked me to, (I didn't like my last name anyway). Even that wouldn't have been enough. I wound up working for the county elsewhere, over the bridge at Conservation and Waterways, at a nature preserve. This was the beginning of an amazing tri-summer adventure, I'll tell you about it someday. But always, the library called to me. Its fragrance of mildew and stamp pad ink. Paper cuts from the card catalogue. Those stumpy eraserless pencils even children have trouble holding onto.

At a Levenger's warehouse sale, I nearly knocked a woman over as we raced to be the first to grab up this little card catalogue, I won. Very un-libraryish behavior. But - Instant Librarian Chic.

Although Amazon sends them to you at a discount and in a smiley face box, and a Kindle fits a million books into your pocket, the library lets you take them home for free. You just walk out with them. Okay, you have to bring them back, I watched that Seinfeld episode. But still, for free! How is this? How can this be? I still don't quite believe it.

But it's true.


Anonymous said...

Libraries ROCK! Even the smell of the old books in the library makes me happy. I was just in the library this morning...too many books, too little time!

Sandy said...

My God, I could write a book about my love of libraries... If I was a writer, that is.

This post brought back SO many fond memories.

Once, I drove 10 miles to our nearest library in a VERY RARE for Texas snowfall, on a Saturday morning while my husband watched the kids. I was a stay at home mom of two toddlers at that time and I wasn't going to let a little snow keep me from my weekly FIX! Just because I had never driven in snow and had only learned to drive a couple of years prior was no big deal. ;-)

Thanks for this post, Amy, I have been having a wonderful stroll down memory lane... all the way back to my childhood!

Daydreamer said...

I have a love/hate relationship with Libraries.... only because you HAVE to bring the books back!!! I know... sharing is a virtue.... but I LOVE books! And I use them all the time... to re-read, to look things up... to check my references.... to be inspired.... and on and on.. I long ago realized that I have to own my books... so I only go to the Library on rare occasions.... just for the temptation or when they are having their old books sales!
I did get to work in a Library in College... you never get time to LOOK at the books you have to shelve! I helped with the conversion of records from old card catalog to digital database.... kind of boring! But I know EXACTLY what you mean.... Libraries are AWESOME!

Amy said...

I probably would have gotten fired for browsing the books I was supposed to put away. I feel the same way about owning books as you do-I love having them there, it's like keeping a record of your own life, and I love rereading too. Don't you find that the same book changes for you each time, that either you understand it better or differently depending on how much life you've lived by each reading? But what happened here is that I moved, and packing the books was the worst part-you can get a few in a box and you pick it up and it's so heavy the bottom falls out. But, of course, now that they're in storage I miss the hell out of them.

Clay-notice that the art books always weigh three hundred pounds? I guess it's good for arm-toning.

Sans! said...

I remembered I injured my arm real bad pulling my luggage worth of books from London back home :). I too need to own the books I love. And yes, I have hundreds of art books all weighing a ton. I no longer pack more than a dozen art books in a single carton. Books must be the heaviest personal accessory ever :).

But long ago when I could not afford to buy my own art books, I hit the library at least once in 3 weeks to get my fix. Back in the uni, the library was just a stone's throw away from my dorm. And I used to love lining up my 4 books (we can borrow 4 at one time) just next to my bed, all large, heavy books on art. I may not be able to finish reading them all but I keep borrowing new ones.

As far as I am concerned,every home should have a library. Even if it is just a shelf worth of books.

rosanna said...

Amy, I come to your blog through Sans' one because I don't know how to become a follower of yours.
Very sad for me, I love your blog although I very very seldom comment.
Anyway I have to share your love for libraries, one of my first memories is a friend's book shop where I was allowed to take everything I wanted and read it on spot. Pure heaven for me.
Have a nice day, Rosanna

Amy said...


I'm so happy that you come by even if you can't follow my blog, and thank you for leaving such a lovely note! Your own blogs are full of joy-

How wonderful to have a friend with a books store-that truly is pure heaven. I still dream of owning one, though I'll probably have to build a miniature one instead. Though that's not bad, right?