“What in the world would we do without our libraries?”

I am a character in a science fiction novel having to adjust to a wet, sunless world, and I am not adjusting well. It is a cloudy, hot and humid day already in the 70’s. It rained this morning.

A library, any library, is a favorite place. When I was a kid, I walked uptown to the library once a week in the summer and every couple of weeks in the winter. The library always felt cool in the summer even without air conditioning. The chairs and tables were wooden. They were captain’s chairs, the ones with spindles in the back and wooden arm rests. The shelves were up high and down low. The mysteries and science fiction books were on high shelves. It took a while until I was tall enough to reach the top shelves.

The library at my college was new. It had smoking rooms on each floor. Serious students stayed on the bottom floor where it was quiet. My friends and I went to the top most floor and took over tables in the corner. We weren’t quiet. During exam times, I sat at an individual carrel. I spent many afternoons and evenings at that library but seldom for reading, almost always for studying.

In Bolgatanga, the library was also brand new. The architect was J Max Bond Jr who lived in Ghana for a while in the 60’s. The library was designed with an umbrella shaped roof to keep the building well ventilated and cool, a necessity in Bolga. I was a frequent visitor to the library. Books were essential to me. I had so much down time I needed something to fill the void. I coached volley ball and taught adult ed in town, but it wasn’t enough. I had a Peace Corps book locker, but I went through that in a short time. The library was a godsend.

My local library was an old captain’s house. It’s tiny, but I never have difficulty finding books to read. I go every couple of weeks to browse the shelves. I used to buy new books as soon as a favorite author published one, but now I borrow though I haven’t completely given up buying. I sometimes read all day. At night I’ll read until 2 or 3 in the morning. The time passes so quickly I am aways surprised at how late it is.

Right now I am still reading the Patterson/Clinton book and have two more in the wings. Today is a perfect day to read.

In case you were wondering, I did my laundry yesterday.

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12 Comments on ““What in the world would we do without our libraries?””

  1. Hedley Says:

    The great thing with libraries was that a fit of the giggles would cause immediate ejection. Goodness knows how many times I was slung out of the library at Dorking Grammar School. I have vivid memories of Charlie Edwards bringing “Monty Python’s Big Red Book” (it was, of course, blue) in to a “study” session and the extraordinarily unpleasant Miss MacCauley pitching us out.

    Today I have a library study at home and there are always 50 books waiting for my attention. Years could pass and then suddenly I will get the urge to read the book that I had to have 5 years ago. When I have finished reading I dispose of the book, otherwise the house is overwhelmed.

    I have just finished Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Jerusalem The Biography, which generally goes down the lines of ..we have conquered it, we are pulling all your stuff down and building our stuff.

    I read very little fiction but I do make an exception for the late Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      My library was the same quiet zone. When I was in high school, it was the sneaky way to go out on a school night: just claimed I was studying at the library. Now libraries are accepting of noise.

      I used to give my mother all my books so she and my sister could read them. They’d come back to me, and I donated them to the library. The librarian kept some and the rest were sold at a book drive. Some books I have kept.

      I am more into fiction. Biographies or books about historic events are usually the only exceptions. I love mysteries,

  2. Bob Says:

    I can’t go into the local public library without bringing home too many books which I don’t have time to read. Unfortunately, libraries for me are like an all you can eat buffet. 🙂 My eyes are always bigger than my stomach. 😦

    We have a huge second hand book store chain, Half Price Books, here in North Texas where I can spend hours looking at their huge inventory of books, records, CDs and DVDs. I don’t have the space to store all the books I want to buy. I am now hooked on ebooks. I can read several of them at once on my iPad and store over a hundred of them on a small hard drive. When and if I retire I will have several years of ebooks to keep me busy.

    Cool today with clouds but very little rain.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I usually pick up 2 or 3 books and usually take about 10 days to finish them all. I also have a couple of new books to read. One is the Patterson/Clinton book and the other, which hasn’t arrived yet, is called Hope Never Dies and is an Obama/Biden mystery where they are both sleuths.

      I have a few novels on my iPad left over from my trip to Ghana. I find downloading enough e-books for my trips is expensive. I think I read eight or nine in the three weeks I was in Ghana. I read going and coming on the plane and at night.

      Lots of rain rain today then came horrific humidity and warmth. I guess we will have rain almost every day through the weekend.

      • sprite Says:

        I read Hope Never Dies earlier in the summer and thought it was cute. It’s definitely a potboiler, but it doesn’t take itself seriously and doesn’t ask you to, either. I’ll definitely read the second book in the series when it comes out next year.

      • katry Says:

        sprite,
        Hope Never Dies came in the mail today from Amazon, and I’m looking forward to reading it. My sister liked it and recommended it to me. Now I have two recommendations.

  3. olof1 Says:

    We had pouring rain almost all day yesterday but today has been sunny and very windy. Perfect to take walks in the forest because the wind blew away all but one moose fly. That fly won’t fly any more 🙂

    I have always liked libraries and I was there every week until I moved here. It is so far so I’ve started to buy my books instead. I think all libraries smell the same no matter where one goes in the world and it is one of my favorite smells 🙂

    I’ve been lousy when it comes to reading this summer but now comes the darkness and with that my interest for reading again I think 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      We had an ugly day all day-humid and hot. It might be better by Friday, maybe even some sun. I hope I recognize it.

      I used to buy so many books. Now I go to the library, but I do buy new books I really want and can’t wait until they get to the library.

      I read all the time. This time of year I like to read on the deck. I have a book downstairs and one upstairs.

      Have a great day!!

  4. sprite Says:

    I’m nearly done listening to the Patterson/Clinton book and am hating it. It’s been a while since I’ve so looked forward to a book being done.

    • katry Says:

      sprite,
      It was slow going reading the first quarter for me. I stuck with it and finished the rest in quick time. The last part was okay, but only okay.

  5. theOwl30 Says:

    May there always be libraries. And solid books you can hold in your hand. Even now, we see less use of home desktop computers, less use of tablets, and just about everything going to phones, or being an App on your phone. This is bad. Because whatever “Big Tech” controls the phone companies, controls information, and possibly your access to it.

    Buy a printer. Make E-books. And “regular” books. Preserve knowledge. And the freedom to read it!

    • katry Says:

      Owl,
      I am currently reading two books-one upstairs and one downstairs. I am the president of my local library board.

      I love visiting my little library to get books.I don’t know what I’d do without one.

      Long live libraries!!


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