My Favorite Place
July 8, 2019
Originally Published April 2018
A magical realm where everything is possible. A place of quiet where imagination is unbound. A repository of knowledge where questions are answered.
As a girl, I wanted to live in the library. As a woman, I still feel the same. I can imagine a small room with a comfortable bed to sleep in, then waking up and stepping out, surrounded by the comfort of books, everything I could want to learn before me.
Our public library is made of warm, red brick. Before the remodel and addition, the shared entrance with the city offices had a highly-polished brick floor. It felt so grand—the perfect place to house all of the books I planned to read. I was excited to get my own library card, once I learned to write my name—the same library card I use today.
I often went to the library after school during my sophomore year in high school, browsing the Fiction & Literature section beneath the tall, main floor windows, looking for British classics of the 19th century. Sometimes, I wandered downstairs to find a biography or history book. I even ventured into the art or architecture books, imagining what my future house would look like.
It was in this library that I discovered Nancy Drew and Jane Austen. I found the Agatha Christie mysteries that allowed me to exercise my mind. In the basement, I found books filled with sketches of stately homes in Great Britain. Books I would never have thought to look for ended up in my hands.
I feel a twinge of sadness every time the library layout changes and I need to learn again to find the books I enjoy the most.
When we were dating, my husband and I came up with an idea for a free date: a library scavenger hunt. We made a list of things to look for within the library’s books, then set out to discover the items on our list. Both of us being book-lovers, this quickly became our favorite date. Spending a couple of hours simply walking between the tall library shelves and picking up books at random, we learned so much more than we imagined.
Today, I explore the library in a new way. My children are learning to enjoy the comfort of books and stories as my husband and I browse the children’s books, finding new adventures to share with our new generation of readers. Often they sleep with books in their beds, even using them as pillows. For years to come, we will take family trips to the library, seeing the excitement in our children’s eyes as they look forward to reading, learning, and imagining—just like Mom and Dad.