The town where I grew up had a population of approximately 500.
I used to ride my yellow bike with the banana seat and white, woven basket on the gravel streets to the library.
After getting the mail, I would prop my bicycle against the white, wooden-sided building that housed both the library and police station, and head on in to peruse the shelves.
I still have my first library card, and occasionally wield it as a small-town-badge-of-honour when my friends of urban birth gape, open-mouthed at the stories of my childhood. My library card number, unlike my current 14 digit library card number had only three digits: 003.
Yes, I was library member three. Quaint and frightening all at the same time. I need not go into the functional literacy rate of the county that hosted this library.
Books were my therapist, priest, and security blanket growing up in a small town. To this day I’m convinced that I was indeed found under a cabbage leaf .
I was a regular at the local library, and by the time I was 10 years old I’d read through the Harlequin’s, and Bob Geldof’s autobiography.
I hated having to give up my precious books. Big bookstores nudged the library out of my life. The seductive ease of ordering on-line became a convenient way to feed my addiction. As a result, I have lugged and moved and rearranged books for years.
I still have some of my favourites from my childhood and university years, as well as a handful of sentimental little board books that I used to read over and over to my own child.
It was a bittersweet reunion when, just over a year ago I re-ignited my previously flaming-hot relationship with the local library. It wasn’t long before I got over the two things that had become irreconcilable about my relationship with the library; not being able to keep the book, and getting the willies thinking about someone else’s dirty hands all over the darn thing while perched a la toilette.
The relief witnessed by my bank account and the ease of placing holds on hard to find books, helped heal theOCD fear of catching germs from a loaned book.
My previous post about parents choosing inappropriate activities for children may have made you think that I’m some sort of child-hating monster. Au contraire my pretties.
The library is almost completely kid friendly. First of all it’s free.
Libraries have programs designed specifically for tots. Children can touch the books without fear of a burly security person dragging them and their parents outside.
Contrary to the environment in which I was raised, I now live in Canada’s most culturally diverse region. I share city resources with people from around the world; some scraping to get by, and others much better off than most. Good libraries offer communities a rich resource to bridge the gap between the 99% and the 1%.
I’m going to ask you to question why you need to own books that you will likely only read once despite your best intentions to re-read them. Come on. Be honest with yourself.
Why not support a resource that exists to enrich the entire community? Why not support a resource that may potentially be the mentor of a young child who has no resources to draw from at home?
Go ahead, rekindle your romance with the library darlings. Who knows, you might just learn a thing or two.