You guys, omgosh! I have a library card! It’s all shiny and new and pretty and has a neat and colorful logo with BOOKS on it! It’s probably the first one I’ve had ownership of in over ten years. Can you BELIEVE this?! I can’t either. Omgosh. I’m so excited… this is better than that winter holiday where you get all the presents, cause this one I get presents ALL YEAR LONG! And there is even a keychain one in case I forget my actual card and need it to get things (like BOOKS)!
When I was little – in elementary and middle school – I would spend as many days a week as I could at the library until mom was off work to come pick me up. I usually had almost two hours between the time my day was done and when hers was… that’s a lot of book perusing to be had. Sometimes, especially when I was in the youngest years and was reading the shortest books, I could get one or two of them done by the time she came to get me. And then of course I would pick out an armful of unread ones to bring home with me, since I just couldn’t leave *all* of them behind.
In junior high and high school I would spend my “study hall” class in the library, if whatever teacher I had would allow it. It was a small space but absolutely jam-packed with books, higher than I could reach even on a step stool. (But of course I’ve always been pretty short.) Those walls contained a little something of everything my then-heart could wish for: unabridged versions of the dictionary, with Old English still firmly in place; encyclopedias under more than one company name; books of poetry; and my favorite – the magazine room. The magazine room was tucked into the furthest corner away from the entry door it could possibly get. No one ever went in there, as far as I could tell, other than myself and the librarian. It was about the size of a custodian’s closet, which is probably what it was before someone figured they needed a dark hideaway to keep periodicals away from children that would never spare them a glance. They had shelves of Time, and science publications, and probably some on business or other grown-up matters as well. Not exactly the kinds of things the generation of BOP & Tiger Magazine wanted to peruse. The real gems of this covert storage room, however, were the National Geographics. Shelves upon shelves of them, from years back. A veritable treasure trove bound in sunny, exotic yellow.
I had begun an obsession with National Geographic around the same time I started junior high, thanks to the slightly vintage stacks of them kept in a spare room at mawmaw’s house, where I went every day after school until mom got done at work. Sometimes I talked my way into being dropped off at the library, or being allowed to walk there since it was less than three city blocks away (see above). I was also in a super-safe town, and people that would have seen me walking knew who I was and who was taking care of me, the number to call in case of an emergency, etc. Small towns are nice like that.
Anyway. I would spend hours poring over these National Geographic magazines, dreaming about visiting all the far-away places with sights so utterly different from anything I had been exposed to. This is probably also where my from-then-on lifelong wanderlust kicked in. (It really hasn’t left me alone since and I keep collecting places I want to see/travel to/visit/experience.)
I’ve kinda gotten off the subject haven’t I?
Library card! Yes! Well basically what I wanted to convey with this rather wordy and existence-spanning little post is that I frequented libraries all my life. And then one day I didn’t. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but it was probably shortly after high school when I moved to New Orleans and started college there. I never did get a new library card for where I was living then, and I never got one for any of the places I moved around to after. It was way beyond time to remedy that, clearly.
Also, did you know you could check out e-books for free from a library now? WHAT?! (I just found out yesterday. I’m sooooo not news-stuff-inclined.) I’ve been kind of adamant against e-books for the longest time but I’m gonna have to rethink that now. There are too many books I want to experience and live in, and too little money to spread around for them. Thank you, library card, for fixing part of that situation for me. ❤