A Love Letter to Libraries

library

Dear Library,

When I was young, you were like a candy store, containing shelves bursting with color that made me want to drool. (When I was very young, I actually did drool. Sometimes on your books. Sorry about that.) My sister and I would sing “The Library Song” from our car seats on the way to visit you—I can’t recall the words, but by the time we reached kindergarten, there were several stanzas. I’m sure they were deeply lyrical and moving.

As I grew up, the library became one of my favorite places in our small town. It was there that I won my first writing contest, discovered a love of secret codes, and committed my first crime (leaving a library book in the rain was, to me, a capital offense). You brought me puppet shows and summer reading programs with cheap plastic prizes that I thought were treasures. You had book sales and how-tos on whatever craft craze I was currently obsessed with and apologetic tomes that I checked out in middle school to sort out what I believed and why.

It must have been in high school that I discovered the Christian fiction section, and I never left. The stories I found there—Dee Henderson, I’m talking to you—probably led me, eventually, to work in book publishing. So thank you for that.

But there are so many more reasons to thank you. Thank you for being filled with people who love books—for employing librarians who are willing to overlook a boisterous child who means well, anyway, and give her tips about what to read next. Thank you for hosting every period of history, every human emotion, every obscure topic, neatly organized on your shelves. Thank you for opening up new worlds for me. For all of us.

I’ve moved to a new city, a new library system with fancier technology and more options. But it still seems a bit strange to use a library card that isn’t faded and warped, the wobbly grade-school cursive signature rubbed to a pale gray from use. I’m working on it, though.

Just in case you ever wonder, in this digital age, whether you have a place anymore, let me say this: you do. Here’s to many more generations roaming the shelves—after all, “The Library Song” could use a couple of new verses.

With love,
Amy

Happiness

Here’s a question for you, readers: what do you appreciate about your local library?

14 thoughts on “A Love Letter to Libraries

  1. I love libraries, too. Out main branch not only has a great children’s section, but a very fine Inspirational Fiction section. And the librarians are often very helpful. I have also been personally involved in building up the inventory in our church library.

  2. I have always loved libraries. From the small one in a one room school to a large one in Minneapolis, Mn., I love to go to libraries. I go to a branch library now, which is very conveniently located close to my home. I like that I can order the books in advance on line and frequently use inter-library loan. I love the smell of books, too! 🙂

  3. I have to admit I haven’t been to my local library in awhile. Mostly because I love owning my favorite books. 🙂
    But I too remember discovering the Christian fiction section. My parents appreciated not having to buy as many books. Ha!

  4. Have loved reading since I was a small child. I would walk to library and find a new treasure to read! I still continue to do so. I like to research subkects I am interested in. Thank you dear library for always being there!!

  5. I am grateful for the children’s reading room. I would take my youngest, her sister was in kindergarten at the time, across the connecting bridge into a cave like circular room with a domed roof. She would have the opportunity to snuggle with the librarian who became a dear friend, and do crafts which ,for her, was an expression of her creative nature. Today, as she is an adult herself, I go to the bookstore at the same library. I purchase books for my home library which provides craft materials, among other things, for the library and new readers. I have many happy memories of this place.

  6. Thanks Amy! As a library worker it warms my heart to hear from people who still have positive things to say about libraries. There are many people in communities that still need publicly funded libraries.

  7. I love. Love. Love.this. I too so enjoyed ( and still do) going to the library. I am there at least. 3xs a week. Whenever we go somewhere new, always want to check out the library. It seems to always show me the history of the town I’m in at the time.

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