September 25th, 2002


Library Memories

I loved to read as a child (I still do, though I have much less time for it these days). I loved the library, loved exploring the shelves for new and interesting books. I loved laying on the big round padded couch-thing (with tiger stripes on it, or something equally strange) they had in the children's section, delving into a new world. Just read a friend's post about hosting a bunch of second graders in the library, and it made me remember my own childhood library addiction.

I remember one time, I must have been still fairly young. (I know this, because I remember the books I was checking out were all different sizes, like kids' books.) I was by myself, finding some new books, adding them to my pile to check out. There was some other child also in the library, with his mother. We were friends. He didn't much like to read. I remember his mother, pointing out the enormous stack of books I was accumulating. She was trying to convince him that reading was fun/worthwhile/etc, and using my obvious love for books as an example.

I remember feeling so sorry for him, that he didn't like to read. I remember feeling so proud of myself, and so special and intellectual, that his mother had exemplified me. I carried my pile of books to the checkout counter.

There was something wrong with my account though, and I wasn't allowed to take any of them home. Either there was an overdue fine, or my family already had too many books still at home...something like that. I don't remember exactly what it was, and I don't remember why my mom wasn't there with me...or maybe she was there, but she wasn't able to straighten it out. I do remember that they wouldn't let me have any books.

I remember I had to walk out of the library, past my friend and his mother, empty-handed. I remember I was crying, and I was trying to hide it. Partly because I was sad that I couldn't have any of my books, but mostly because I was so very embarrassed, after he and his mother had been so impressed by me.