I went to return a book and get a new one the other day to find that my public library is closed. I stared at the sign on the door for a few moments, in denial before I walked mechanically to the dropbox to return the book that was due. It was also locked. They wouldn’t even accept my attempt to be a good library citizen and return my possibly germ-infested borrowed book.
This, to me, more than anything else, was a sign of how impactful this whole social distancing thing is.
When I was a little girl, my mom drove my brother and me to school and we walked home. The library was on the way home. Often it was hot and we would duck into the crisp, air-conditioned building that seemed cavernous to me with its high ceilings and shelves and shelves of books. They also had a drinking fountain. It was a place of refuge.
Each summer we participated in the summer library reading program, which in my day had to do with winning prizes for reading copious amounts. Modern library programs don’t seem to operate in the same way, but I loved those programs of the early 90s.
Each time we move I go to the library as soon as I get a piece of official looking mail with my name and address on it. Usually it’s the first week we’re in a new place. It brings me a sense of peace and familiarity to be in the shelves of books.
The best public library I’ve ever patronized was in Topeka, Kansas, where we lived when my oldest was a baby. The building was big and beautiful, they had every book I ever looked for and a robust program schedule. It was where I first ever heard of NaNoWriMo and won a prize for my writing. It was where I checked out books to teach myself how to sew. They had a hoppin’ trivia night for adults and a summer show schedule for kids. I loved it there. It was my home away from home.
Regardless of how good the local library is, I am one of those people who makes a library run more or less once a week. We get books, we need books, we crave books. We pay fines for books. I don’t stress about fines, I figure it’s my donation to the library.
Now that my library is closed, I am relegated to reading the books in my house. I tried to check out ebooks, but the waitlists are long and the selection sparse. After putting a million book on hold, I combed through our bookshelves, looking for book I haven’t read yet. I want something light. So I decided to raid my kids shelves. This is what I came up with.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Especially that bottom one – Sisters. It’ll be my first ever graphic novel. Thanks coronavirus. 😉 Meanwhile, I’m making a list for when the library reopens.