Since I’m writing this post from the coffee shop at my new local library, I felt it appropriate to share my love of libraries. The one I’m sitting in right now has since been remodeled from the last time I was here over ten years ago, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. In a time when libraries are being closed because of lack of funds and all that crap, it’s refreshing to see that a whole county system of libraries are being invested in and turned into even better libraries.
Ever since I was a kid, the library was a place I used as an escape, a place where I could forget all about my day and just lose myself in hundreds of books. It became part of my life, part of my routine, stopping at the library every Monday night after my piano lesson and checking out Sweet Valley Twins books and Alice in Wonderland (seriously, I think I checked out that book more than any other). I counted on this to get me through the week.
And then I hit high school, and going to the library didn’t seem important anymore. It didn’t fit into my “busy” high school schedule. I learned to love the library again when I went to college, but only in the summers when I worked at the front desk of one of the dorms and I needed something to pass the time. Mind you, this was before the age of cell phones and iPads and stuff like that, so I didn’t have crap like Words With Friends to kill my days. So I would go to the Eau Claire Library and check out tons of books, particularly Brian Jacques’ Redwall series.
A great way to spend the day without technology.
One of the first things I did when I moved to California after college was get a library card. During times when I was homesick, I felt the library was the one constant thing that could comfort me. I got a card for the Studio City branch of the Los Angeles County Library system, and even applied for a job there but was turned down because I was “overqualified” (which is total B.S., but I digress). Then when we moved to Pasadena I got a card for their library, which is still one of the prettiest libraries I have been in.
I would walk to that library every Saturday morning as a way of de-stressing from the hellish week at my mortgage company job. It was only thing keeping me sane, and my husband should be forever grateful for that.
When I got a job in Arcadia, which is about 15 minutes from Pasadena, I worked a block away from the library there. So it only made sense to get a card there so I had a place to spend my lunch breaks. And then when we moved to Torrance, well, you can guess what happened: I got not only a Torrance Public Library card, but a Palos Verdes one as well. I came to love the P.V. library so much that I volunteered at the gift shop there for a whole year.
By the end of my ten-year California stay, I managed to collect a total of ten library cards. And a lot of them were being used at the same time, so much so that you would think some of the books or CDs would get mixed up and returned to the wrong library. Well, it happened once. And only once. And I caught it in time where it hadn’t been put back into circulation yet, so I consider my record clean. My library organization system was immaculate. And slightly Type-A.
So when I moved back to Minnesota and my life felt completely out of sorts, what do you think I did as soon as I found something with a current local address? I went to the freaking library. And I immediately felt at home. That was two weeks ago, and while I only have one library card at the moment, more will come. Trust me. Because library cards are like shoes and purses: a girl can’t have just one.