Sometime in the 1960s, my hometown, a small sleepy place nestled in the North Carolina mountains, unexpectedly built a new library in the “George Jetson” style. It looked as if a spaceship had landed on the corner of a street of old Victorian homes, shaded by towering oaks and elms. Many in town were scandalized. But to me, fresh out of kindergarten, it was a sleek, magical cave of wonders. It was air conditioned—very exciting! And more thrilling yet, I had learned to write my name, so was eligible to get My Own Library Card. My Grandpa Bobo, who lived with us, was assigned the task of taking me, along with my best friend Matthew, whose mother worked for us, on trips to the library every week. With that card in my hand I really did feel as though I could go anywhere, do anything. The first book I remember checking out was Harry the Dirty Dog. I’m happy to report that book is still in print and still in the library today. All through that glorious summer, Matthew and I would come home with a stack of picture books each and lie down on the cool flagstone porch and flip through them, making up our own stories to go with the pictures, and looking forward to first grade, when we would learn to READ.
That’s my childhood memory of the library…what’s yours?