Thursday, August 20, 2009

Love Your Libraries

One of my favorite childhood memories is walking the half mile through town with my older sister and perusing our little local library. It was, and is, little. So is my hometown. There’s not even a stoplight. The one room library was well-stocked for its size, however. It was a magical place, full of stories about everything and set everywhere. I rarely went farther than 25 miles outside my town other than family road trips on summer vacation. I don’t remember many of them.

My days at the library are firmly ingrained in my being.

I love stories. That’s a silly statement to make, I suppose, since I write them, but it’s not only the act of writing I like, it’s the true love for Story. With some books I read, I’m not so sure the author has enough of a love affair with Story. I think some like to hear themselves talk, as they say. I think some simply like the act of writing and struggle to find something to write about. I’ve often heard writers moping about being blocked and wanting to write but not having any good ideas.

I don’t get it. Anything can be a story. If you love Story, sitting on your front porch watching the leaves turn orange before it’s even September can become a story. A ladybug crawling along a picnic table can be the start of a story, especially if there are two ladybugs, one red and one orange, and you know the orange ones aren’t native to your area and shouldn’t be there while the red ones are highly beneficial and well-loved. There: a story idea. Where it goes from there would be different for each writer and that’s the magic of Story.

They are who we are.

I won’t go into the whole narrative therapy concept here, but stories help create who we are. We can change them, if we wish, and if we’re willing to accept we can.

Our libraries are full of stories that show how they shape us. They can let us be anyone. They can take us anywhere. Where would you like to be right now? Ask your librarian to help you find a book to take you there.

Where did I go on my story adventures in my childhood library? More places than I can remember. My favorite was solving mysteries with the Hardy Boys. I could be a detective, too. I loved being able to be anything even if only for the length of the book. Now, I love giving that back to others. I have lots of stories in my head waiting to come out to share. I hope that never changes.

Do you have a favorite library or a favorite librarian? Tell me about your library, either from your childhood or recent, and tell ALA about your favorite librarian--

The Carnegie Corporation is sponsoring the “I Love My Librarian” award. You can go here to nominate someone you think should win:

Libraries all over the country are losing funding right now with the current economic issues. Consider doing what you can to help promote the good they do for us and to encourage maintaining their funding. Ours is expanding with a lot of help from the community. It’s beautiful to see. And it’s very much needed.


Maggie Toussaint said...

I'm a big believer in libraries, Loraine. Today's library is a bit like the new bookstores. Some of them even have food kiosks or cafes.

Our small town library doesn't do food, but they have computers which are the only internet access many of our populace have. They offer book discussion and films, as well as other cultural programs.

I've been on our library board for a number of years. I'm thrilled to help our community in this way.

And, by the way, I read The Shack yesterday and will be reporting back on it next Monday at The Book Spa.

Unknown said...

LORAINE--Austin, Texas is closing something like 40 branch libraries, most due to funding. And each branch has lodged a protest--why? Not because of the booklending, but because the computers provide a free resource for low income people, teens can gather there and surf the net, parents can drop their kids off for the free after-school activities, and the summer arts and crafts. I'm sure books play a role in there, but they make it sound like it's a free recreation area. If all those teens and kids checked out books, I'd be happier.
I distinctly remember my library where I grew up. I visited every Saturday until high school. Then, I read books from the school library. Odd, that memory. why didn't I check books out of the otwn library? Our library here is wonderful. I go once a week. Celia

Mona Risk said...

I used to be a frequent visitor at my local library before I started writing. No time now. Now my little granddaughters go to play in their local library. I wonder if I can ask them to do a booksigning there and bring in my many friends.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post and the link for the "I Love my Librarian" contest!

I have fond memories of my neighborhood library. Unlike yours, mine was huge (it was on 23rd Street in New York City) and fostered my love of reading which has remained with me all my life.

So many books... so little time.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Loraine, I love libraries. My favorite library is the library in Manchester, NH where I grew up. That building was huge. It was old. It had two or three floors, flags, books, audio - EVERYTHING. I miss it. We have a library in Castaic, but the Manchester library is Classic. Sniff...sniff...

Helen said...

I agree with Celia. What we do without libraries? Not every family can afford to buy books, even ebooks, it they could afford an ereader. And reading and getting lost in other worlds is essential to the growth of young children's minds (as well as the minds of adults).

Straight From Hel

LK Hunsaker said...

Maggie, I haven't heard of libraries with food kiosks. Great idea, good competition with the store chains. That's the hardest about spending a lot of time in the library - no coffee allowed! ;-)

Celia, that is sad. I think there is potential for Ebooks to reach kids, though. It's "cool" since it's technology. Some libraries now have Sony Readers!

Mona, I've heard libraries love to do signings. I would start visiting with your grandchildren as much as possible to let them get to know you again first, though.

Ken, those huge libraries are great, too. When I went to college and saw that huge 2 story library, I wanted to live in it!

Steph, if I ever get to Manchester, I'll have to stop in. ;-) We do plan to visit NH in the near future.

Helen, thanks for coming by! I agree. There's no way most people can afford to keep an avid reader supplied with her own copies of books. I'd love for mine to be widely available in libraries so people could go read them risk-free. :-)