Thursday, June 23, 2011
FIRST LOVE: NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED
The GBE2 topics have been fun, but I haven't written on them in a couple of weeks. At first this week upon seeing "first love", I was not inspired. My husband, oddly enough, was my first male love and still continues to be after 37 years.My children and grandchildren will always be my loves. I have had loves for music, both playing and listening, certainly sailing which gave life to my childhood and I love reading. However my FIRST LOVE was without a doubt definitely and truly the library.
I learned to read young and learned to know and appreciate books early, but for me at about 6 years old there was something almost orgiastic about receiving my first youth library card. Now I could go into the place that held everything worthwhile without an adult. The Cranston William H. Hall library was (and still is) a wonderful columned structure that was almost like a cathedral to me. Inside it smelt like a library should; like the printed page, the much used binding, a little dusty and a slight smell of floor wax. Even with being restricted to the children's section, my foray into heaven with my new library card was all that I ever dreamed it would be. There were books I could easily read, books I could struggle a little to read, books that looked boring, books that were exciting, books that were fun, books to dive into. AND I could take about 3 home at a time if I returned them on time. I was a precocious brat of a child and got into trouble all the time at school, at home, and other places, but I restrained myself in the library. However, I did get kicked out once for giggling too much (the book had pink pages that was too much for me at the time) and vowed never to let it happen again. It was one of the saddest days in my childhood.
First loves wear off they say, but not here. My first paying job (i.e. 50 cents an hour) was at the Providence Public Library, when I was in high school, working in Reference and Periodicals as a messenger. I found a love of history in all the old periodicals in the stacks. In my various trips to various colleges, my only comfort zone was the library. Yes, I had friends and went drinking, etc., but it wasn't like nailing research in the library.
So how does this love story come out. After law school, I left my love (except for the law library of course) and BOUGHT books. Upon our retirement into no funds, my husband suggested (even insisted) that I visit my first lover again; how kind of him. I did and it was still waiting for me. Yes the Providence Community library had the same smell, but had added a few features. I could pick out books online from every library in the state, request them and they would be brought to my local library just for me. The magic continues; I could now download ebooks for free from the library onto my iPhone. I could still go in and browse and discover new authors or subjects just as if we had never been parted. Soon after our renewed love, my library became threatened and I did all I could to defend it, using money, contacts and the written word. It is safe for the time being and just rewarded me by the fact that I was one of the first to get a book 400 people were waiting for because my branch takes care of its branch members first. This is not unrequited love.
"A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas—a place where history comes to life.” - Norman Cousins