I’ve been mistaken for a librarian several times – really! Since next week is National Library Week, I’ll admit I take the error as a compliment. Many of my friends and my favorite daughter are librarians.
To celebrate the week, I’m remembering some libraries I’ve known. As kids, my sisters and I were thrilled to see the approach of the bookmobile. Truthfully, the selection wasn’t large, and I completed reading my choices and often my sisters’ long before it returned. When life was good, the books were worth repeat readings.
In the tiny rural high school I attended, study hall for one period every day met in the approximately 100 square foot library. With no librarian, my English teacher drew study hall duty and made it her business to hand me books, especially selected for my reading pleasure. As you might guess, there were no new books, just well-worn classics. I was soon a Bronte-Austen-Dickens fan.
My children fared better with well-stocked post libraries wherever Uncle Sam decided was home. The weekly library trip with preschoolers gave them time to test out which books were coming home and allowed me a few minutes to make my own choices while they were busy.
Their favorite school librarian kept the latest titles in stock and plied my children and my students, since I taught in the same school, with both old and new books that fit the personalities of her readers. The coveted reward for good behavior or test scores in that school was extra time in the library.
Small wonder that I find myself a member of two Friends of the Library groups – one at my community Oak Grove Public Library and the other at The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries. Nor is it a surprise that I have sought out an annual book festival where I rub elbows with librarians from all over the country.
I like a Ray Bradbury quote passed along in a Facebook post by poet Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “When I graduated from high school . . . I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for ten years.” It evidently worked for him. And if you should mistake me for a librarian, that’s quite all right.