Posted tagged ‘foreboding’

“In my world there would be as many public libraries as there are Starbucks.”

June 9, 2015

Dreary is the perfect adjective to describe today. A sunless sky and a gusty wind make it chilly so long sleeves are the dress of the day. Intermittent showers are predicted. I won’t complain. We still need rain.

Earlier I had my monthly library board meeting which never takes more than an hour. We are an amiable group usually voting yes to any requests. Two members are ninety and one other is in her eighties. I always feel young.

When I was a kid, talking in the library was frowned upon. The librarian would shush us and put her finger to her lips to tell us to be quiet. We whispered but never softly enough. Even in the children’s section the librarian created a sense of foreboding. I never asked her for anything, and she never volunteered. Her circulation desk was round which I figured was the rule as every circulation desk I ever saw was round: hence, the name I suppose. The desk was across from the door and there the librarian sat to check books in and out. Those were the days of hand held stamps and book cards on which you wrote your name. I remember watching her carefully place the stamp in the due date box on the slip at the back of the book. She wanted to make sure the date was straight and in the middle of the small box. That librarian looked like she needed the stamp straight. Everything about her was perfect from the bun in her hair to the thick nylons and the black, laced shoes. The only words she ever spoke to me were, “Did you find what you wanted?” I mumbled yes every time but wondered what a no would have brought.

Libraries today are places where you feel welcome and where you can even talk without a single shush in your direction. I haven’t seen a bun on any librarian in years. The librarian in my library doesn’t wear a flowered dress or clunky black heels. She dresses for comfort because that’s the feeling she engenders in her library. She offers help and suggestions. Today I dropped off three books and picked up three more.

I have always loved libraries even when I got shushed.

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