Today, like many days, I am reveling in the glories of the public library. I need to tell a folktale for a speech in Toastmasters, and I found that the library has an entire section of folktales for me to choose from. It was so easy to find what I needed—I love the librarians and the work they do.
I’m also excited by a new promotion that the library has going. In order to celebrate a bond issue that greatly expanded the library, they have created a passport which gives details about all the libraries in the system. You can go to each library and get a stamp for your book, and when you’re done, you’re eligible to enter a prize drawing.
I plan to make time for this quest. The booklet gives bus information to make the tour easy, and even if I don’t win the prizes I will have had a lovely self-guided tour of the library system. It sounds like a good deal to me, and it’s free. I can’t wait to see the modern marvels and Carnegie masterpieces, and this quest will get me into many neighborhoods in Seattle where I have not yet ventured. The library promotion will give me a better idea of our city’s geography, too, and who knows what serendipitous treasures I might find?
Libraries have always been important to me. I have memories of my parents bringing my brothers and sisters and I to the Grinnell library in Wappingers Falls, New York. It’s an ornate structure which has stood there since 1887, and it’s one of the oldest libraries in New York State. I remember choosing my books with care, hunting for the few Nancy Drew books I hadn’t yet read.
I’ve given poetry readings in converted libraries, I’ve attended writing retreats in closed libraries, and I’ve spent many hours sitting in the corners of various university libraries where I studied. I could describe at least ten of these places in great detail. My apartment, despite efforts to pare my collection, resembles a library itself. I’m looking forward to visiting my local temples of knowledge. What a joyful assignment!
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
182. Think back to libraries you have known. What did you like about them? What didn’t you? Explore a nearby library that you haven’t visited.