For me libraries have always been magical places filled with stories about people that I could imagine meeting. In elementary school, not only did I read through entire chunks of the school’s library but I would spend time helping the school librarian. Shelve some books, straighten up a display, or best of all type up some cards for the card catalog – on an electric typewriter no less (Mother wouldn’t let me touch her good one). Yes, I’m dating myself here. But even those cards were magical. One book with so many different ways to organize it – title, author, category. And then to be able to put those cards in the catalog drawers was an event. Very few people were allowed to touch the metal rods that held the stacks of cards in those drawers. I knew I was special. The school librarian encouraged me to earn my library sciences degree in college so I could come back to help her. It was an intriguing thought but wafted away in time.
As a budding writer I enjoyed creative writing club. Which was of course run in the library. Just another reason to be in one of my favorite places. And then there was the magic day when we had a real live author come to visit! He was a local poet and we each were to write a poem ahead of time that our teach sent off to him and then we were critiqued. Pure magic! He said mine reminded him of e.e. cummings. Being only eleven or twelve I had to look up e.e. cummings. Really, I was that cool?
Those times in the school library are some of my favorite childhood memories. As homeschoolers my children were introduced to our local public library very early on. We’ve participated in summer reading program , my youngest has volunteered in the children’s department for the last two years, and we’ve held NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s write-ins at the library. But best of all is the Creative Writing program. Tuesday afternoons are for all community teens and once a month there’s a special homeschooling group that also functions as a book club.
And last week what happened? They got to meet a real, live author. Terri Clark writes YA fiction and came for a visit. She talked about the business side of being an author, discussed writing, and brought copies of her books to give away. One of the girls received Ms. Clark’s newest book Hollyweird two weeks before its release date. Our home library gained Sleepless and The Girl Who Was on Fire. Even more special for my kids was that Ms. Clark signed the books.
The library magic has now been passed on to another generation and I can only hope that this will become one of my children’s favorite memories.