March 30, 2009

Library Love Story by Kimberley Payne

As a child I loved libraries. I loved the smell that rushed me as I pulled open the double doors at the top of the entrance stairway. I loved the hushed quiet with only muted whispers between book lovers.

I loved the colours. Always seasonally decorated, I could enjoy oranges in autumn and pinks in spring. The book spines were a feast for the eyes with varied print sizes and multiple colours.

I loved being treated with respect. When I produced my Library Card, the librarian would smile with her eyes, acknowledging me as “one of ours”. I was only limited by the number of books my bicycle basket could carry. I did not need to justify my choices – they were all good. Everyone knew they were good, just because they were in the library.

I loved the cozy chairs I could crawl up into and get lost in comfort. I loved the round tables, perfect height for me, with chairs to share my discoveries with another “one-of-ours.”

I felt comfortable. I felt at home.

I still do. I love the library. I feel especially called to the children’s section. I still love the inviting places to sit. I still love the fun colours. I still love the joy of discovery, of learning.

I want to be part of this world still. I want to “Peter Pan” my library past.

Today’s librarians may frown at a full-grown adult sprawled on her belly in the middle of the reading carpet, giggling at a picture book. But if I were the one who wrote that book, that would be another story right? And if I read that book to a group of children on that very same carpet, and we all sprawled together, and we all giggled together, that would then be okay, right?

I want to stretch out on the floor and laugh as I read. I want to share this joy with children. I want to create magical memories for them, just as my memories are kept alive with each visit to the library.

Can anyone relate?


  1. Oh absolutely, Kimberley! I can relate. The library has always been one of my favourite places to visit! Still is.

    Your posting is filled with that sense of wonder and fun! Thanks!!

  2. Absolutely! Whenever I have moved, the first place I look for (other than churches close to where I live) is the location of the public library.

    I loved it as a kid, surrounding myself with books and the adventures and joy they brought into my life—and still do.

    To be able to share that with today's kids is a wonderful privilege and it's sad that there are so many distractions for today's generation that draw them away from the world of books.

  3. Wouldn't it be fun to take pictures of our favourite library rooms and post them on the net? Then when we're feeling sad or nostalgic, we could "visit" the library :)

  4. The city just built a new library in my home town. I got a tour of it—all great wooden posts and beams—very native Indian. It just beautiful. I'd move back there just for the library.

  5. Ah, the smell of a library... or a used book store....


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