Monday, January 2, 2012

The Library

Despite the fact that I LOVE to read and take pages and bindings and words generally very seriously, I had not been to the library for at least five years.

My family went every week from the time I was two until about ten, but then things got busy or whatever and we stopped going. I went a couple of times in sixth and seventh grade because my art teacher lived near one, but around eighth grade my library trips ceased.

Until a few weeks ago.

I knew there was a library near class. I had known all semester, but I wasn't completely sure where it was, and Cassidy and I are terrible with directions and usually on our way somewhere else. Stopping at the library never quite fit into the plan.

But one day after class, we pulled up to the intersection and I looked over at Cassidy.

"Would you like to go to the library?"


"Turn off your signal; go straight."


We drove through the intersection and into essentially uncharted territory. I watched my surroundings like a hawk, praying that something would look familiar soon. Nothing especially did, but when we hit the second stoplight, I said, "Okay, turn right here."

By some miracle of God, the library was the first building on the right. It was meant to be.

"Oh cool," Cassidy said. "I didn't know this was here."

I sort of looked sheepish and got out of the car. "I didn't really either..."

She just raised her eyebrows at me and we went inside. {I do that to her a lot, BS my driving directions for her so she won't be stressed about getting somewhere. 90% of the time I am just as clueless as she is. But 70% of the time we get there anyway.}

We walked into the library and it felt like someone was pushing on my chest. The ceilings were high, the room was hushed and the air smelled like books.

"Oh my gosh," I breathed. "I haven't been in a library in so long."

Cass just kind of smiled and kept going.

I wandered around the whole place, devouring the place with my eyes. There were tables and couches and shelves and computers and windows and BOOKS. So many books. I kept repeating that to myself, So many books, So many books.

You forget just how many there are until you see a big display like that. I mean, I hadn't forgotten that there were thousands of books in the world, I just hadn't been so close to the idea in a while.

When I finally found my way to the young adult section, I was practically giddy, drunk on the prospect of so many words in so many different orders.

I sat down in the floor in front of a shelf shaped like an X lying on its back. Four spokes of bookshelf, each with a front and back, filled with books. So many books! I had read a lot of them, but there were even more I hadn't even heard of.

I spent the next half hour seeing every book on the X-shaped shelf. I read every title and touched the really enticing volumes with awed fingers. I smile fondly at old favorites, like they were secret allies in a mob of unfamiliar stories. I breathed in the strong, old scent of library books. I made tragic sounds at the dog-eared pages and broken spines.

Then I planted myself firmly at the first X spoke, took out my phone, and began seriously studying. I first judged titles; if a book caught my attention, I took it out. Then--yes--I judged the book by its cover. If it was a girl in a bikini, a poorly drawn swordswoman, or half the face of an opened-mouthed person, I put it back. If not, I read the back. If it still interested me, I typed the title into a text message and moved on.

An hour later, I stood up, eyes feeling gritty and brain feeling fuzzy. The world of light around me seemed strange, as it does when I've been reading for a long time. It's like my brain has to reprogram, reboot. I have to shift from translating words into a world and just take the world as it already is.

I found Cassidy and confirmed that she had had an equally {okay, close enough} fantastic experience. Then I referred to my phone list, selected a couple of books with her help, and we checked out.

I left the library feeling energized in a serene kind of way. Cassidy and I go every week after class now.

*sigh* I feel things too strongly XD But I really do love books a lot.



  1. I don't think I've been in nearly ten years. I have this thing about wanting to own books I like but we used to go to the library all the time. It was our stock up place before a family vacation. There is something to be said about reading a book people have enjoyed before you :)

  2. Aww I really loved reading this post! I feel the exact same way! I have more of an obsession with book stores than libraries though. Regardless, the smell of books is my favorite and it will forever give me that feeling of nostalgia. It takes me back to being a little girl and I love that.

    Being a homeschooled third-grader was probably one of the best years of my existence. Being with my mother everyday, going to the library every week, reading to her every afternoon. She always knew the word and its meaning when I had trouble pronouncing it. Having her wake me up every morning to start our school day and then finishing at 12 pm to do something fun. Being in regular school now, I miss those days. I miss reading Harry Potter to her and going on our library trips.

    The above is the memory this post made me think of :) thank you


  3. Jay: I never actually thought about it that way before: reading a book other people have enjoyed. They might love it just as much as I do. Their laughs and tears and smiles are just as important as mine, all preserved in a book. The book knows and remembers them just as it will know and remember me.

    Wow, what a beautiful thought.

    Gabrielle: It's just awesome :D

    Ah, that sounds wonderful! You sound like you have a great relationship with your mom :) Cherish the days, but don't forget: these days can honestly be just as beautiful :)


  4. I love the library. It's the most fantastic place in the world <3