Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Remembrance of Libraries Past

by Julia Buckley

When I was a kid we had a small town library in a house that was purchased by the library board. Every week or so we would walk a few blocks to this little domicile and browse the shelves for big hardback books (sometimes covered in that lovely library plastic) in our favorite genres. Even then I favored mysteries and romantic suspense novels (Oh, how many Victoria Holts they had on those shelves!), but I loved everything--fiction, young adult, humor, fantasy, romance.

Our book limit per person was ridiculously large, and sometimes we'd walk home with ten or more books apiece. Sometimes we didn't get through them all (we might have started one or two and lost interest, the way we now might do with the Amazon "look inside" feature), but in summer we plowed through a plethora of books. And it was bliss.

I remember the joys, too, of the old-time card catalogs. The way the stiff cards felt when you flipped through them, hunting for treasure. The way the cards smelled--sort of like old books and ink--and the smooth skimming sound the drawers made when you opened or closed them.

See that lovely beauty in the photo? I'm inheriting it from our school library, which is doing away with its old card catalogs. I can name few pieces of furniture that I think are more beautiful than that multi-drawered, wooden wonder that holds all the nostalgia of my library days.

I'm not even sure where I'll put it in my tiny little house, but I will find a spot, because this old card holder and I--we were meant to be together.

What's your favorite memory of your childhood visits to the library?