The memories I keep of my hometown library surround me like a comfortable blanket. It was a place where I first found independence because when we moved from the country to the village when I was in second grade, we were less than half a mile, door to door from the library. I tried to convince my mother to let me go alone but she always made sure to send an older sibling along just in case. By fourth grade I was able to go on my own and I spent most Saturdays there.
Upon arriving at the library, I bounced up the steps, opened the heavy brown door and was greeted by the intoxicating scent of books. The librarian was at a desk, straight ahead, always busy matching up people to books. She would stop what she was doing to look up and greet me with a wide smile before returning to her pile. Although her name escapes me, she was everything you’d imagine from a small town librarian. Gray-haired, glasses that dangled from a chain, cardigan-wearing, a ready smile, eager to help.
To the left as you entered stood the card catalog unit, overstuffed with typed up index cards telling you where you could find each and every book in the library. To the right were two long tables surrounded by comfortable chairs and window seats where the locals would congregate and catch up on out of town newspapers and periodicals. It’s where I would sit for hours as I worked on my book reports for school, sometimes joined by friends but many times contentedly alone.