I absolutely love the library. Every chance I get I visit one. I love picking up the papers that tell me about what it going on, the various newspapers and watching people read. I find it most interesting to watch the differences between the magazine readers and the book readers. Magazine readers seem to always be in a slight rush to inform themselves of the latest read, a juicy article or find out what is the best product of the month. Of course whatever is “in” always changes with every season.
My love affair with the library started very early. Actually I was in the 4th grade. I was new to Gardiner Manor Middle School in Bay Shore, Long Island. I did not like my teacher, Ms. Paige. She was so awfully mean and I found myself going from being one of the smartest in my school in Brooklyn at P.S. 273 to just mediocre at my new school. I recall being sent to sit out in the hallway to learn my multiplication tables. Whoever told teachers that was a good thing to do was not advising them correctly.
I did not learn my multiplication tables in one day but I got it down pat. I seemed to have avoided her wrath by excelling in reading. I read everything from the backs of bleach bottles to the Encyclopedia Brittanica set that my parents managed to buy. That memory made me smile. Only certain age groups will remember volumes of encyclopedias. Even if I did not understand exactly what was printed, I read it anyway.
I worked in the middle school library helping to check books out and keeping the overdue book list in order. I dropped the list off to each class to remind students to return their books. I was excited that I had a purpose. I read almost every book in the library by the time I left middle school. In the summer, I would go to the Bay Shore/Brightwaters library. I was involved in every reading contest during the summers.
My mother recently sent me a box full of photos and memorabilia that she found at my childhood home, which is still occupied by family members. My awards were in there too. I was so proud when I received them. My mother remembered and sent them to me along with my report cards from P.S. 273.
I recently visited the Southside Library (Capital Area District Library) and ran into a poetry friend of mine. He thanked me for being open to poetry as a form of entertainment and he read me a beautiful poem about women. I smiled the whole day after that.
Last December, I stopped into the Okemos (Capital Area District Library) and donated hand knitted mittens and hats to the Christmas tree they were using as a donation spot. Every year my mother, knits and crochets items for me to give away to friends and those who need them. I gave one to the mailperson who delivered my mail. She was so happy! My mother was happy too when she got the picture.
When I left home, I would take books out on knitting teaching myself new stitches. My love of the library seems to fill a sense of longing for what used to be and helps me grow into what I want to be in the future. Visit your local library!
P.S. Update soon about the “high risk traffic stop”.
This column was printed in the April 5, 2015 - April 19, 2015 edition.