Friday Favorites | My First Library

I still remember the day, but I don’t remember clearly who took me. Was it Mama? Doubtful — she thought books a waste of time. Most likely, it was Daddy. He loved books too.

I don’t remember either of them ever reading to me or my younger brother. You know the kind of reading where you snuggle on the couch, or in someone’s lap, or even at bedtime. I do remember all the Golden Books we each had but nothing beyond that.

Then there was the day someone said, “Come along. We’re going to the library.” A rather strange word — library. And not easy to say. But I was always up for something new and the very sound of library was tinted with hints of adventure.

Arriving at our destination, there it was — the library — sitting on a grassy mound in a “Y” in the roadway. The mound had sidewalks all around, and you walked up steps to get to more walkways and more steps heading into the building. It looked enormous.

And then we went inside! Floor to ceiling, this building called a library had so many books I couldn’t possibly count them all. Was this where Heaven really was? I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then I learned by the mere act of asking for a “library card” I could take books home with me, but only for a little while.

I spent a good part of yesterday searching the digital archives for the City of  Nashville, Tennessee, looking for an image that would match my memory of that day long ago, but to no avail. No such image existed.

And then I foraged through old family photos — nothing there either.

What I did come up with is a more recent photo. Thankfully, nothing about the building appears to have changed. The modern-day bike rack didn’t exist that first day, but everything else looks pretty much the same.

I remained a proud, card-carrying member of this library until we moved from the city to the suburbs in 1956 or so. The area we moved to was not graced with a library, so I became accustomed to the limitations of the bookmobile. 

However, the memory of this building and the shelves upon shelves upon shelves that greeted me that first day is one of my fondest days in my memories of my life with books.

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What about you? Do you have childhood memories of a special book place — library, storytime, bookstore, or reading time with a parent or other family member? Why not share with us below?

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9 thoughts on “Friday Favorites | My First Library

  1. […] from those buildings stands our library, Ledding Library. Its architecture a far cry from that of my first library, the subject of an earlier post, Ledding has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. And […]

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  2. Allison @ The Book Wheel October 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm Reply

    Wow, what a gorgeous library!

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  3. sstamm625 October 25, 2013 at 8:06 am Reply

    I loved the library when I was kid. My family lived about 30 miles out of town on a farm, so when we’d go into town for groceries on Saturday, I’d ask to stop downtown so I could go to the library. My parents would go off to do other errands and leave me in my world of books. I’d check out a bunch of books, which I’d store in a stack on one side of a stair step and work my way through during the week. I also loved the bookmobile visits to our school, Teri! I haven’t thought about the bookmobile in a long time. And I love the smell of library books–other books don’t smell like that.

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    • Sherrey Meyer October 25, 2013 at 8:34 pm Reply

      Stephanie, I’m struck that all three commenters today were living in rural areas and had to “go into town” for groceries and the library! What a coincidence this is for me, the city girl. And Teri, commenting just ahead of you, stayed at the library while her mom shopped. And the bookmobiles seem a fascination to all of us. I loved your last sentence the most — the smell of books in a library have a distinct aroma. Sometimes I think I’m imagining that until I walk into our local library today. Glad you stopped in.

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  4. tpolen October 25, 2013 at 6:51 am Reply

    When I was young and we would “go to town”, I hated shopping, and still do, so I’d ask my mom if I could just go to the library and she could pick me up when she was finished. I also remember the bookmobile coming to our school, always an exciting day for me. My mom was a teacher, but it was always my dad who read to me – kind of ironic.

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    • Sherrey Meyer October 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm Reply

      Teri, what a great way to spend the time while your mom shopped. Bookmobiles were like buses full of treasures in my mind. Sounds like books have been with you most of your life too.

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  5. marianbeaman October 25, 2013 at 4:37 am Reply

    I remember being taken on a field trip to the “big” library in little Elizabethtown, PA. Also, I was given books for birthdays and Christmas. When it wasn’t too cold or too hot, I would escape to the attic where I could read alone. The photo about reading I most treasure is the one of me with my nose in a book on my rocking chair at age 2. (Image in Purple Passages on my blog.) I vaguely remember being read to, mostly by my mother and Aunt Ruthie. All my memories of reading or being read to in childhood give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

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    • Sherrey Meyer October 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm Reply

      Marian, I thought of my first library as big too, but as I look at the photo above, it’s not really all that big. Do you suppose it was because I was so little at the time? I love the image of you the little girl escaping to an attic to read! And I’ll be checking out the photo in Purple Passages. Yes, any idea of books being read or reading them gives me warm fuzzies too. So glad you stopped by today!

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