This past weekend I found myself on a mission in search of an audio-book from the public library. I’m embarrassed to say, I haven’t visited our library in years. I tend to be one of those purchase and go kind of people. I’d forgotten how much I actually liked the library, but beyond that, I was shocked as to just how many people were visiting on a Sunday. The place was packed and not having found what I needed at the first stop, I was destined to visit another one in our town as well. Again, the place was packed. Although I wasn’t in search of any particular book beyond the audio-book which started my whole journey, I decided to peruse the shelves in search of nothing in particular. What I found surprised me.
As I meandered down the rows, sliding my fingers along the glossy bindings, I caught glimpses of necks, chins, and foreheads of my fellow readers peeking through the open spaces of shelving and I was drawn back to my childhood. I can remember getting my very first library card and how excited and grown up it left me feeling. I loved to read and would lose myself in a good book as soon as I’d checked it out.
Each summer, our small town library would introduce a program to encourage young readers to devour books on break. The anticipation of snatching up armloads of books, flipping through the pages, frantically reading to finish as many as possible before summer’s end was the perfect challenge for me. I could hardly wait for Mom to take us to get our first collection of reads at the beginning of each summer. She would start up the car and we’d pile in, heading off to collect our treasures for the next two weeks. I still remember the musty smell and dense weight of the books. It was pure torture waiting to finally reach the age to check out a book that was big enough to require a hard back cover with the crinkly plastic foil wrapped around it.
So as I walked through the library, running my fingers along the books to hear the crackle of the plastic, I remembered Mama and all the times she made sure we were doing things that were good for us, but disguising them as adventures instead.