Jan 9, 2010

Late to the Library

When I was young I rarely went to the library. I preferred to spend my afternoons outside than in a book. Thats what my sister did: she stayed at home reading books. Not for me. I was going out into the world (or at least the neighborhood) to live my own story. At least, that's how I saw it.

But I loved movies-I could disappear into a story on screen. In college I studied film production and later got a master's degree in screenwriting, because I loved telling stories. It was then that I came to appreciate the library. The library was a quiet place to study, I could rent movies, and I finally discovered books. In fact, some of my favorite films were adaptations from books.

My first book was published past year, and I have the library to thank. The library was a quiet place where I could retreat from the noise in my own life and do what I loved to do--write.  I wrote half my book at the public library. I found books that inspired my own writing. And I saw people of every age and ethnicity doing the same: studying, reading, writing, or just enjoying the quiet. Well, it was mostly quiet. Sometimes it got noisy, like a half hour after the local schools adjourned and the place got flooded with students.  Mostly Asian students. Hate to tell ya, but the children of immigrants will be running our companies in 30 years.  They don't mess around.

The library isn't just for readers of books. It's a place for movie watchers, students, job seekers, and researchers. (Sometimes it's a haven for the homeless. But as long as they're quiet and don't smell too bad, I say let them stay). The library is a wealth of information in nearly every medium: books, periodicals, magazines, online access, DVD rental ... etc.  And the library is still one of the best places to retreat from the noise of life, disappear into someone else's story, or write your own.

And it's free.

Dear Library: It took me a while to love you. Thanks for staying open all those years.


Mike said...

I think part of the downfall of the library are all the places like Borders and Barns & Noble where you can just read the books there, in their nifty coffeeshops, as well as all the DVD kiosks in super markets. Sadly it makes you miss out on the classics, or the over looked book that only 5 people have read but it changed each one of their lives.

I blame commercialism for the downfall of libraries haha!

Sara Elizabeth said...

You just made me miss the library. When I was in college, I used to love going to the library. I would people watch, read, browse the net, meet new people, and sometimes sleep. It truly is a magical place.

Tomlinson-van Wunnik World said...

When I was a kid our local library was an old red brick building, two stories, entered by climbing steps to the wide porch. The stacks were closer together than they put them nowadays, and the shelves were filled with thousands of books with solid colored covers - red, green, grey, blue, brown - no dust jackets or mylar library covers then! I guess it didn't have many windows, because I seem to remember dimness as being part of the experience. My mom took my sister and me nearly every Sat. morning for years and I'd check out as many books as I could carry. I really loved that place.

Anonymous said...

Dear Public Library,

Where's my check?

- Susan Isaacs


Stephanie said...

Welcome, Susan. Due to the economic downturn and shrinking tax pool, we will not be able to pay you to use, advertise, or otherwise enjoy our services. Instead, we invite you to take advantage of one of society's most brilliant ideas. Ever.

Everybody together owns all the books (print and audio), all the DVD's and cassettes, all the magazines, research materials, and interlibrary loans, all the board books, story hours, and pizza and a movie teen nights, and all the wifi access. Anybody who wants to can use any of the stuff. Few things make me as satisfied with life as the hours I spend working in the library. (Besides - if I didn't work there I might have to work at Curves. I'd rather be set on fire than work around bouncy sweaty women all day. I'm just sayin.)

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