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Here’s to Our Public Libraries! — 30 Comments

  1. Oh. I can relate to what you feel! Not the being a writer part, but the rest of it.
    My library was within walking distance of our home in Merced and I spent a
    Lot of wonderful hours there. Thanks for reminding me of those days😍

  2. Karen, I take my two children to Scotts Valley every week to write, read and play. Last weekend, the library hosted a professional editor who shared some industry insight…

    • Wonderful to hear, Rebecca. My mom took me and I took my kids too. What a great legacy.

  3. The town library has always been a central part of my life. As a child the magic of visiting this wonderful large building so full of learning, history and mystery. Now taking my grandchildren is a sweet time to enjoy Story hour and search the books for us to read together. I love to go to learn, watch classic films and get lost in mystery and love stories from so many of my favourite authors. Thanks for sharing Karen.

    • I love hearing about your experience with the library–both for yourself and for your grandchildren. It will be something the ‘grands’ will always remember.

  4. Sounds wonderful and I am so glad you have access to such an awesome library. Funny that your blog tonight is about “books” ! This afternoon I was sitting in our living room looking at all the books in our book cases and since I cannot stand up to reach them or read all the titles I started thinking I should hire some teenager who would like to earn a little extra cash to come and take an inventory of all our books! Tanya and I both have so many and now that they are all in one room it looks like a library! I have so many of the great classics and have to admit I have not read all of them, and with all the others I really need to start sorting and get rid of the ones I know I will not have time to read but I also know there is no way Tanya and I will get rid of any of OUR books! HA!
    We have an awesome library here in Orlando. Tanya has a Kindle but I prefer to ‘hold a book’ in my hand so she has called to see if they have a book I would like and if they do they actually deliver it to your house!! NO CHARGE ! When you finish reading it you take it to the library, drive thru the ‘drop off’ box, and turn the book in and that is all there is to it~ I had never heard of such service-don’t know how it is funded but it is great.
    I am reading a series that a friend of mine gets thru Guideposts: “Blue Hill Library Mystery series.” They are so good I can hardly put them down! Just good clean, Christian books that keep you in suspense.
    Thanks for sharing this one and I just know you will accomplish “much” in such a great place!!
    Blessings, Margaret

    • How fun to hear that the mystery series you are reading is based on or near a library! Perfect. I will have to look up this series. I love mysteries!

  5. A few years ago the county where I live was considering privatizing the public libraries. The entire community came together and prevented that from happening. I’m proud to live where people value the libraries so much. Of course I go there about once a week and check out books.

  6. Thanks for sharing your library memories, Karen! When I was a little girl, my mom used to take my two sisters and I to the historic Pomona Library in Southern California. It was a magical place, with collections of preserved butterflies, moths, and huge insects in a glass case, all at eye level for little children to enjoy. I remember the comforting smell of worn books stacked high on wooden shelves all around us. Among my favorites back then was Goodnight Moon—the illustrations captivated me, and I always giggled when I read the page with “a bowl full of mush.” (This was over 50 years ago.) Years later, the old Pomona Library was torn down and replaced with a sleek, modern building. It broke my heart to see that special part of my childhood gone. The first time I entered the new building, I searched all the rooms for the butterfly and insect collections, but they weren’t there. It was a sad day indeed!

    • Oh Nancy, I’m sad with you. I haven’t been back to the library of my childhood but it was a vintage building and now I wonder if it has been replaced with something modern and sleek. I hope not.

  7. My first library experience was the one at Gardiner Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas where I grew up. Oh, how I loved entering that huge room with wall to wall wooden cases filled with books on every subject I could imagine. And that slightly musty smell of paper, bindings and paste! My early passion was horses and I read every horse book available. The library soon became my window to the world, shaping my view of people and places I only dreamed of ever seeing. The writings of others started my love affair with words, fueling my desire to put my own thoughts, emotions and descriptions on paper. In the summer, the book mobile–a car pulling a trailer full of books–came to the school grounds once a week. Oh the bliss of leisurely summer reading! Since those early days I’ve had the privilege of visiting some of the great libraries of Europe. As I write this I am in Scotland having just visited two at Oxford, not to mention the hangouts of some of my favorite classic writers–and have been reminded again how the words and knowledge shared in books changed the course of history. Long live the library!

    • Judi, how nice to hear from you as you travel far away. I love what you shared about your experience with the library of your childhood the many others you have visited during your excursions.

  8. When I was a kid I had severe, chronic asthma and couldn’t climb the hill to our house after school. Instead I’d go to our town’s branch library, which had formerly been a bar, and hang out until my mother got off work and stopped to pick me up. I loved that place! The librarian taught me the Dewey Decimal System and I’d help her by shelving books. In exchange she’d let me always be the first to read any new books for kids. And I was allowed to write my own library card number on the cards of the books I checked out each day.

    • Janet, what a tender and sweet memory. I can picture you as a child enjoying helping the librarian and building your interest in reading and writing.

  9. I also have sweet memories of my children’s library in San Jose. The library had a story time on Saturday mornings. I read books in bed under the covers with a flash light when I was supposed to be asleep. When I was old enough, I would take the bus from home into town to the library. I felt so grown-up and couldn’t wait to go to the adult library.

    • Roz, what a precious memory. It makes me smile to think of you as a young girl sneaking a story with a flashlight under the covers at night and also taking the bus to the library when you were old enough to do so. Such beautiful times that are forever tucked into our minds.

  10. I just have to write another note to let you know how VERY MUCH I have enjoyed reading the responses you have received! I just now read the ones that were written after I sent mine and I have to admit it really gave me goosebumps to read them! So exciting ! THANKS all you wonderful people! Keep on reading with gratitude that we have eyes to see and can read AND we have books available! Blessings, Margaret

    • How nice of you to read all the other comments. They are truly inspiring, aren’t they? I love my readers!

  11. Dear Karen, what a heavenly childhood experience you had … I wish I could say a fraction of the same …

    Born into China’s bottom pit society of masses of peasantry in starvation, I loved books, school and learning but at age ten the bloody civil war Cultural Revolution (1966-76) took my only joy away when nationwide schools were shut down, books burned, teachers beaten, humiliated, struggled against and many were killed … for the entire ten years of my growing up years, China became an intellectual wasteland … Miraculously, by God’s grace, I rose from the ashes … caught the last bus when the Cultural Revolution ended with Mao’s death and China finally came to its senses by restoring the merit based college admission policy … I was able to compete against thousands into college and university and became a fame high school English teacher … and I was 27 when finally saw the inside of a library … Hope I didn’t depress you with my real life story of horror. Jing

    • Jing, many thanks for giving my readers and me a glimpse into the suffering and cultural deprivation you experienced. If anyone would truly appreciate a library, it must be you, after all you’ve endured.

  12. Karen,

    I have fond memories of going as a young girl with my Mother and siblings to our beach front public library with its floor to ceiling windows. Every visit was exciting! (Especially during the summer season my mother began paying us to read. Giggle!) I don’t remember how much I earned, but I remember falling in love with books and feeling so grown up when I got my own library card.

    It was sad when Hurricane Katrina destroyed my childhood library with its grand staircase, harbor view and goldfish pond. Though its old frame sits damaged and hollow and the library has now been relocated and replaced, the memories at that location still linger.

    Recently, I decided to try a “quiet writing day” at our new library for a change of scenery and fresh motivation. And, I think it would have worked if the loud, constantly talking, librarian would have heeded his own instruction and “shhhushed.” (But, at least the experience did make me appreciate my quiet home office!) :-/

    Thanks for spotlighting libraries Karen. They are often some of the most overlooked, underappreciated, and underused resources of our communities.

    Smiles, BRC

    • Thanks, Beth. How sad that the library of your heart and childhood is now just a shell from the past. But at least your memories are still alive and they can inspire you to keep reading and writing.

  13. Dear karenilearned the joy of reading from my mum growing up in Scotland o henry,and too many to name.coincidentally I am off to my book club tonight held in the library seven wonderful,intelligent women sharing. Thank you karen love wendy x
    😘

    • Thanks for your comment, Wendy. How nice to hear that your mum instilled in you a love of reading and that her influence carries on in your life as you participate in your book club.

  14. I loved going to the library too as a child. We didn’t have a TV growing up so books were a huge part of our lives. Every summer there was a contest to challenge reading. My brother, sisters and I would bring stacks of books home to read and then share them with each other before returning them the following week. There were charts to record how many books we read. The library was an old brick building in the center of down town Ballard in Seattle. We couldn’t wait for Fridays to come… a time our parents grocery shopped while we ran up the wide cement steps that led to the huge library doors. Inside were treasures for us to choose to take home. I wonderful memory I savor! The fun thing now is reading some of the same books to my grandchildren!

    • Joan, I love this story of your childhood relationship with reading and books and your town library. Like you, I have made reading books to my grandkids a priority.

  15. I’m a little late reading this, but I love this post. Libraries have always been such a big part of my life since I was a kid. My kids still recount the days we spent there – one day a week was library day – and Brendan and I just had our date night this week at the library! And yes, I should go there more often to write – was thinking about that last night. I always get so much more accomplished. Yay libraries!!

    • Thanks for adding your comments about how much the library means to you, Laura. It seems we writers appreciate all they do for us.

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