Posted tagged ‘libraries’

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

March 8, 2016

We have actually hit 50˚ today because there is no wind. The day is bright and the sky is clear of any clouds. I just got back from my library board meeting so I’m done for the day. My outside clothes are going to be replaced by my inside comfy clothes. I brought home three books from the library, and I have yet to read the morning papers. I’m thinking turning pages might just be my only exercise for the day.

Libraries have always been favorite places for me. I used to go at least once a week when I was a kid. The librarian probably didn’t think I was reading all the books because I returned them so quickly. You’d think librarians of all people would understand how books capture you and how difficult it is to put a good book down. I’d sometimes read a book in one day. I’d even read during class by hiding my book inside a textbook. It had to be a big textbook. The best was always geography with history a close second. Not once did I get caught. I’d turned the text book pages to make it all look real. I was adept at concealment.

When I was in Ghana, I read constantly and swear I read most of the books in the Bolga library. We had no radio, no TV and terrible movies shown once in a while in town at the Hotel d’Bull, the hot spot of Bolga back then. Preparing to teach the next day never took long and neither did correcting so with all this time to fill I read. Trips anywhere took what seemed forever so I learned to read while I was on the bus. It used to make me dizzy and sick when I was younger, but I got used to reading on the road in Ghana. Anytime I had a volunteer stay with me, book swapping was part of the visit. We all carried books. When I was in Accra, I’d go to Legon to the main campus of the University of Ghana. It had a book store. I always spent a good bit of money there. Books were almost as important to us as food and water. I don’t think that’s changed.

“My grandma always said that God made libraries so that people didn’t have any excuse to be stupid.”

January 6, 2015

I’m still waiting for the celebration. Bring on the balloons, the cake and the conical hats. I did it. I took down almost all of Christmas yesterday. Only the trees are left for tonight’s lightning, for the celebration of the Epiphany.

I carried empty boxes up the stairs and filled boxes back down the stairs to the cellar. Some boxes were so heavy I couldn’t carry them so I slid them down the steps one step at a time. The block Christmas tree was the scariest to carry downstairs. Given my history, I was afraid of falling and scattering all those blocks, but I didn’t. It is safely secured until next year. The special ornaments went into individual small boxes then into the ornament box. The snowmen are still around the house and will stay a while longer. With the tree lights, the house still has a bit of the festivities about it. Wednesday will be a dark day. I miss Christmas.

I am not good with numbers, never have been. I counted on my fingers until at least college. If I hadn’t worn shoes, my toes would have extended my math ability. Words are my strength. When I first learned to read, I read everything I could at the Dick and Jane stage. I got to know their animals and their little sister. The more I read, the better I read so Dick and Jane were left in the dust. I read real books, not the ones filled with pictures. The books in school were boring so I went to the town library. That began my love affair with libraries. The college library was for studying and research though I often ran into friends who convinced me it was time to grab a drink or two after all that academic effort. My town in Ghana, Bolgatanga, had a wonderful library. It was designed by award-winning American architect J. Max Bond Jr. The design of the library always made the inside feel much cooler than outside. I was a frequent visitor.

I still go to the my local library and am on the board. I used to buy books all the time, but now I borrow most of them unless I just can’t wait to read the newest book from a favorite author.

I’m tired today, and I have PT which in this case,. after yesterday, might just mean physically tired.

“Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines — it’s hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.”

June 20, 2014

The morning is cool and breezy. I slept in a bit later than usual as did Fern and Gracie, but for some reason I have been busy already. I made my bed first thing then watered the vegetable garden and the deck plants, filled the bird feeder, put the dog blankets and pillow in the washing machine and hauled up from the cellar bags of cans for recycling. It is as if I am Popeye after eating the can of spinach.

Today I had nothing planned, but I’ll take in the cans and see how much I make, pick up a few things at the grocery store, buy canned dog food and maybe take a ride to nowhere. I haven’t done that in a long while.

When I was young, I loved just sitting and reading. The library was a weekly stop for me. The librarian, on the kids’ side, was the epitome of librarians with her bun hairdo, her old lady silky looking dress with buttons and her clunky tie shoes. She was a husher who would put her finger across her lips to remind whoever was talking to be quiet. Libraries back then were like churches. You sat quietly in your seat or you walked, almost on tip toes, from bookcase to bookcase. If you spoke, it was always in whispers. Even the librarian whispered. I’d find my books and leave as quickly as I could. Nobody hung out at the library. Sometimes on the walk home I’d stop and sit on one of the benches near the town hall and read a bit. The benches were shaded and there was usually a bit of a breeze and I couldn’t wait to start a new book. I’d read a few chapters then walk the rest of the way home. The next week I’d do it all over again.

My little town library is a hubbub of activity. There are speakers on some Thursdays, the librarian has no bun, wears pants and talks aloud to all her patrons. The library is a welcoming place. The kids’ section is filled with wonderful books, stuffed animal book characters and kid-sized tables and chairs. In the summer there are story hours and not a single kid is ever hushed. I can always count on a perfect recommendation for a book from the librarian, and I don’t have to speak in whispers.

Libraries have a lot of competition from e-books. I buy them too, but I still love visiting my library. There is something comforting about being surrounded by all those books. I can walk up and down the aisles, pull out a book, read the jacket and then decided whether or not I want to read it. I always end up with three or four books. I save the e-books for when I travel. I just can’t curl up with a good book on my iPad.

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

July 18, 2011

Right now the day is lovely, breezy and cool at 77°, but there is a thunder and lightning storm advisory for this afternoon and tonight with damaging winds expected. I’ll be lowering my umbrellas before the wind takes them, and they become extras for The Wizard of Oz. Summer storms are often mighty.

This is one of my what in the heck can I talk about days when my muses are taking care of their own business at my expense. Tonight I am meeting my nephew for dinner. We’re doing Mexican. I have a play on Wednesday, Sherlock Holmes, and that’s it for the week. I do need to go to the library as I am out of books, and that is dire.

When I was a kid, libraries were sanctuaries like churches. Whispering quietly was all that was allowed or is that aloud?  Shushing was what we often heard from the librarian who also believed that the gesture of a finger on her lips had to follow shushing. I never understood why the library had to be quiet. Reading a book so transfixed me that I never heard anything, even my mother yelling for me who swore I was ignoring her on purpose, and I certainly wouldn’t have heard anybody whispering in the library.

The quiet rule sometimes had the opposite effect. When one of us laughed, we all did, and we couldn’t stop despite the shushing and the warnings. We were actually asked to leave the library a couple of times when I was kid. We thought it was so hysterically funny to be tossed out we always left laughing, out loud. I’m sure it displeased the dour librarian wearing the flowered dress, sensible shoes and a bun in her hair. For years, I thought all librarians had to wear that uniform.


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