Back to the Library

September 8, 2011

I remember walking home from school in North Canton, Ohio and passing the library every day. I was seven years old and loved books. I convinced my mother to let me get a library card and stop by the library once a week. I was so excited to be in a building devoted to books.

We didn’t live in North Canton long and eventually moved to Uniontown, Ohio, a very small town with no library of its own. The bookmobile came to our school every week, and I learned how important a librarian can be in your life.

When my boys were little we spent lots of time in the library. Each of my boys had their own library card from the minute they could sign their names.

In recent years I’ve spent less and less time in the library. I use the Internet for research, and buy my books in a bookstore, online or at my RWA meetings. I’ve felt like a traitor to the library and have worried about libraries closing if other book lovers are spending less time in libraries as well.

Over the summer there has been so much going on in my life…out of town company, our house on the market, oldest son and lovely girlfriend back home. And I’m finishing rewrites of my first complete manuscript. Just when I was getting my younger boys to take my writing time seriously, finding peaceful time in my home has become harder.

So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to “go to work” every day. I grabbed my book and snuck over to my favorite library in Torrance. I hadn’t been there since we moved to Wyoming nearly ten years ago and I’m embarrassed to say that before I could get a new card, I had to pay late fees I’d neglected on books that I returned just before we moved. (Note to my friend Dana, who thought I was such a “goody two-shoes”: Do you remember saying “I bet you’ve never even returned your library books late”? Well, apparently not only did I return them late, but I didn’t pay the fees.)

Okay, back on track. I love the Katy Geissert Library in Torrance. It’s a two-story building, packed with books, great librarians and comfortable cubicles for working, if you can get one. After paying my fees and slinking away from the front desk in shame, I circled the main floor looking for a quiet place to work. None were to be found. I took the stairs to the second floor and was really surprised to find it nearly full as well. After finally finding a place to work, I wondered if this was a fluke. I’d never seen the library that busy before. What was going on?

For the last couple weeks (not this week) I’ve been heading off to the library for at least a few hours most weekdays. Every time I’ve gone it’s been busy, busy, busy. This week I haven’t made it to the library because of the holiday Monday and Gerrod and Ashley arriving from Maryland, but next week I’ll be back again. School has started, and I’m curious to see if the library will be as busy as it has been these last summer weeks.

How much time do you spend at your library? Do you think people are using it more or less than they did before the internet?


2 Responses to “Back to the Library”

  1. I’ve thought about my contributions to the decline of libraries. At various points in my life–mostly when I was either in college or had little kids–the library was a weekly (even daily) stop. Now, it’s been years since I stepped foot in a library. It’s been months since I stepped into a book store. Ironically, I’m reading more now than I ever did.


  2. Joanne Robinson Says:

    I live in a small village and we get the library van once a week. It’s a great meeting place (pity there’s not room for a coffee club,) and ALL the librarians are GREAT,they have followed me through my writing, submitting and being accepted. Our library service is also soon to be supplying Ebooks.. Way to go.

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