This post originally appeared at girlfriendbooks.blogspot.com
Last week, my kindergarten son’s school newsletter announced that the library was going to be open after school for parents and kids. Not exactly believing my good fortune, I questioned his teacher at pick-up on the designated day. She confirmed I could go up, only slightly taken aback by my enthusiasm. I rushed into school announced to the guard where I was going. She wasn’t sure parents were allowed up, but I was only armed with permission from the teacher and she relented. And then we were there in the library. The only ones. The librarian was shutting down and she said we could stay because the parent coordinater would soon be there. Would she need to turn the lights back on or would the natural light be okay? You bet it would.
My kids thought this was bliss and so did I. We sat on the rug and read book after book. They kept asking me why we were they only ones there and I said I didn’t know. I couldn’t imagine why there wasn’t a line of parents down the hall and a bouncer at the door. I mean this was the library. I’d been smiling every day that my son came home after a library visit. I had been dying to get in there myself and take a look. For as long as I can remember books were friends and the library was a haven.
We had the place to ourselves for awhile. Only later did a few tween girls show up and start quietly reading some books of their own. No one made much noise These were girls I could totally relate to. When I was about 10, I volunteered at the local library in my city. I know I organized and put books back on their shelves, but mostly I enjoyed having access to the special area behind the information desk where I could sit and just read. These are happy peaceful memories of adolesence. And it’s pretty amazing that all those words can live together in one sentence.
At my son’s library there was a teeny little part of me that, recognizing the Papa clan’s enthusiasm, heard the word “nerd” repeating again and again in my head, but I fought that. I used to get in trouble in class for reading books under my desk, thus drawing more attention to the reader (nerd) that I was. I don’t want my children to ever be ashamed of their love of books. So we chose to celebrate this exclusive privilege we had to be in this special place. It was better than any velvet roped VIP room.
And since we were talking about what our education was and how and why we became writers, I have to say that the reason I am a writer is all this time spent in the library. I hope it will also provide the education to my kids for whatever they chose in life. Though now I am a strong supporter of ebooks and ereading, libraries will always make me a little bit breathless and a big bit in awe.