Here’s the thing about being in a great library system; first of all you know it and you know how lucky you are. In a great library system you can read the books you want, read the graphic novel compilations you want, see tons of poetry, listen to wonderful music, download e books and books being read aloud, look at wonderful art books, try to learn new crafts, and read tons and tons of books; discovering new loves, new favorite books, and new authors. You get children’s picture books and children’s chapter books. You get computer access and a way to connect to others that are like you or that share some interests and loves of yours. You get access to thousands of dollars worth of information, entertainment, education, and fun for free. I know that I do and I appreciate the difference between the small town libraries of my childhood and teen life and the libraries of a big city and what a difference they have made in my life.
I remember going to a small town school when I was a kid. The small town libraries back then had just a few books that I would want to read. Ditto on the small town school libraries. I did manage to find some good books when I graduated to the high school library. That was fortunate. A lot of books and most of the music that I listened to were paid for by myself, and as a teenager with little pocket money, that made life pretty hard with a lot of alienation and loneliness because I felt cut off from my major interests and loves. I suppose that the life of a teenager continuously revolves around money, usually the lack of it, but a great library system can make it so much better.
It really wasn’t until I was sixteen and able to move and live in Minneapolis that I really knew that I had reached my nirvana. I don’t remember spending much time at my school library. I know I was there, I have distinct memories of being in the school library. I just don’t remember taking out any books. I really liked the variety of magazines available to read while there. The reason I really didn’t need to check out books from the school library was that I was frequently at a Minneapolis public library instead; my idea of nirvana.
In fact, I lived on the same block as the library then. They had these hugely big comfortable chairs. I used them a lot for reading. I would also go down to the main branch library downtown, which is still my favorite library in all the world.
Lo those many years ago, in the old library building downtown, was a small museum and a wonderful planetarium. I loved going there so much. They built a new library more than ten years ago. I love it even more now.