Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Libraries I have loved

I never intended to become a librarian when I was young, but looking back on my personal library history it seems it might have been inevitable. My earliest library memory is climbing the huge stone steps to the Bangor Public Library. We would have a stack of books from the week before to return, and the lure of a new stack of books waiting inside. Inside and to the right was a huge room with what seemed to be all the knowledge in the world. From an imposing desk in the middle of the room emanated the soft echoing *thuds* of books being checked-out and stamped. I remember the day I realized that the library held the key to know everything. I said to my Mom, "You mean I can look up anything I want?" The first subject I remember looking up was witchcraft and spells. I still see young girls come in to the library and ask for these books, and they always remind me of that day.

We later moved to Camden with its beautiful brick library. I have to admit that while I don't hold this library in such awe, it still made a difference in what kind of librarian I am. What is now the Reading Room was once the main part of the library. I quickly worked my way through the children's section. One day I wandered over to the Young Adult section to see what was there. As I was browsing, the librarian came up to me and told me that I was too young for those books and I needed to return to the Children's area. When I explained that I had used up the kids' books and wanted to move on, she insisted again that I was too young. Hah! I read To Kill a Mockingbird and Watership Down (for the first time) when I was about 9. What did she know! She ticked me off. I grabbed The Wizard of Earthsea from the "too old" Young Adult section and defiantly checked it out. Thus my romance with Sci-Fi and Fantasy was born. To this day I am very careful never to assume anything about a child's reading level.

For most of my life after that I rarely went to the library. The school library and the public library didn't have much that I wanted anymore (I thought), and my brother and I bought books about as copiously as most kids buy music or video games. The Owl & the Turtle Bookstore was where it was at. Oooh, and they had the best Tea Room in the store! Then, when I went to college I snagged a work study job at the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library. I found then that I kept working in bookstores and libraries, so when it came time to pick a career, voila! Library school.


Stephanie said...

The sad truth of it is that I don't take the kids with me to the library. We use to go to story time when Kyrin was little. But after Connor got a little older it was too hard. I need to start taking the little guys in while the older ones are in school. I miss those days. Kyrin would sit in awe as the librarian would make the books come to life. We did all the crafts and made gingerbread houses. I kind of forgot how much that can influnce kids. Okay....I am going to see what times the Kirkland library has story time :o) I'll see you on Sat.!

Mom said...

Hi Julia Pequlia,

This is your Mom speaking from Moscow, Russia. I loved reading about your favorite libraries; we didn't have a lot of money when you were growing up, but the library WAS where you could learn anything and it was free!! I couldn't always justify new clothes or other new things, but somehow there was always money for books. I still get a magical feeling of wealth whenever I enter a library. One of my favoirite library rooms is the grad room at the top of the library on the Unive. of Wa campus ....those stained glass windows with sum on the books!! Heaven.....