In my life, library use has come and gone in stages. Our family is in an library-upswing now, regular and consistent library users, and it is grand. We've tried new cookie recipes, crafts, and have plunged into countless stories. Our weekly trip to the library is a time we cherish, and sometimes I wonder about all of the other hands that have turned the same pages we now turn. (Sometimes I wonder where all of our lost books are.)
When my sister and I were little, our mom took us to the library each week, and we'd fill our deacon's bench with piles of books. Sometimes we didn't go with Mom, and later we'd rush home, curious about what she had chosen, just for us.
For a while, during my 20s, when I was checking out stacks of books for my fifth grade classroom, the overdue fines overwhelmed me; I was afraid to walk into the library for fear of what the librarians would think of me. I was afraid of punishment or an "evil eye", and I didn't visit often.
Then, several years ago, I read an article by my friend and much admired teacher-of-our-children, Susan Kellner. She wrote about the strength and power of libraries, and her article in The Buffalo News invited our family right back in with five new cards and overstuffed bags of books. At our new library, we still keep the books too long and have some fines to pay. Now, though, every time I write a check, the librarians smile widely and say, "Oh! We're so grateful. Thank you for helping the library!" Now I, too, am in library school, hoping to hold the door for new and long-lost library lovers one day.
So whether you're turning off your TV or not, let your library welcome you in. It's free and beautiful, full of friends-to-be. During these difficult economic times, a library is here for all of us, a place where we can find the most valuable gifts for our children and ourselves too.
If you would like today's poem-bookmark (in a somewhat larger size) as a PDF file with three per page, please just e-mail me at amy at amylv dot com with your e-mail address, and I will get it out to you today.
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