Where Books Live

Some of my favorite municipal buildings are libraries. 

I was pretty young when I got my first library card. It was likely entertained by my mother as a way to keep us girls busy while she took care of our baby sister. But, even if my mother’s encouragement to read was a bit disingenuous, I didn’t care because that was a pretty exciting moment in my childhood.

As a kid, I thought of libraries as being houses for books like libraries are where books live. My eyes would widen and I would gasp inwardly whenever I saw all those seemingly endless rows of books.

The sections for children were always decorated in ways that brought stories to life—murals and posters and mobiles hanging from the ceiling. The furniture was kid friendly and the tables were always covered with games and books. The kid’s sections were imaginative and inspiring places to be.

I’m thankful that my imagination was never so tarnished by challenge and hardship that I lost it altogether. 

From grades 1-3 I had to attend a special class to improve my reading skills. I suppose this caused me to shy away from reading on my own for a little while. 

In the fourth grade, my teacher assigned us a book to read, which she spent class time reading aloud to us too. The story stirred up in me the desire to read again, and to write. The book was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

Later in the school year, we had an opportunity to write our own story with our own illustrations and have it bound. Participants received two copies—one was added to our school library and the other copy we kept.

It was an exciting experience and the years that followed led to more reading through a read-a-thon, visits to libraries, and the discovery of Ray Bradbury.

In fact, I was in the sixth grade when Ray Bradbury was scheduled to do a book signing at a library in the Hi-Desert of California. My dad agreed to take me so that I could meet Mr. Bradbury and ask him to sign my only book of his—a copy of Something Wicked this Way Comes.

We arrived early at the library in Lucerne Valley. I remember that I saw a parking spot marked off for Mr. Bradbury and that my heart pounded with excitement. We waited and waited for a car to pull up and park in his spot, but no one ever came.

After an hour passed by my father grew impatient and went inside the library to investigate.

My dad came back out walking briskly, which meant he had news. For an unknown reason, Mr. Bradbury had to cancel his appearance. I was disappointed and thought, “I was so close,” as I held the book in my hand.

In the end, I was thankful that we had even tried to meet him.

While today my perspective on God differs from Mr. Bradbury’s, in my youth I found his writing exciting and tireless. He created story after story and it seemed that nothing short of natural expiration would ever stop his hand. It turned out to be true of him too.

Mr. Bradbury continued to publish up to his passing in June of 2012.

Libraries continue to be places of exploration and discovery in my life—places where I am inspired. Abba has also used libraries, directly and indirectly, to deliver blessings to me throughout my life.

I am thankful for all the ways that libraries bring communities together, crossing cultures and economic barriers. They remind us that there is a simple joy in reading and in the telling of stories. And who doesn’t like a little more joy in life?

Thanks be to God for libraries.

Do you have a memorable library experience? Do you believe it’s important to continue to support libraries in our communities? How have libraries impacted your life?

 

 

Photo Credit: Original image, from Pintrest; Photo Editing, in Pixlr App

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8 comments

  1. They had a summer reading program for kids at the public library there in Carrollton when I was a kid: your number of books checked out/read was monitored. You had a name tag. Fell in love with books right then and there. Good post.

    1. Thanks, Lee!

      And, I love this memory you shared!! I think the Pines system still has that summer reading program.

      Do you know about the library in downtown Newnan? The Newnan Carnegie. Very rad!

  2. I love libraries and books – and especially lots and lots of free books!

    As best I can remember, my parents took me and my three siblings to the Omaha Public Library once a week as I was growing up. I raised my children in libraries. I was surprised to find my oldest daughter, Bethany, enjoyed reading biographies even as young as ten years of age. My youngest daughter, Katie, would reread books over and over again. That too surprised me as I tend to view books from the philosophy of, so many books, too little time. And my middle daughter, Gracen, reads much like I do, one book after another. We read hardcopy and digital versions, have been known to spend copious amounts of time browsing the library bookshelves.

    Bethany and Gracen volunteered at our local library. Bethany even served on the very first Teen Advisory Board at the Bentonville Public Library. Now a small white dogwood tree stands in Bethany and Katie’s memory on the library lawn. It’s a good place to remember them, a place that shared so much of their childhood, a place Gracen and I still visit and enjoy. A place where my children set down roots and cultivated the fruits of imagination, adventure and knowledge.

    Oh yes, I love libraries, but I love the Bentonville Public Library and the Librarians who keep it most of all!

    1. I am sorry for your loss, Janet; but, I am very thankful you shared such a tender recount from your well of precious memories.

      A dear friend of mine is from Omaha. I’ll have to ask him if he is familiar with Bentonville Public Library — most especially the white dogwood tree. Is there a photo of the tree on their website?

      And praise God that you and Gracen are still visiting today — and with joy in your hearts!

      The joy of the Lord is our strength.

      1. J.T.,

        I grew up in Omaha and my parents took me to the Omaha Public Library. A magical place for me as a young girl. We later moved to Kansas City, and where I met and married my husband, David. Eleven years ago, we moved to Bentonville, Arkansas. That’s the library of which I speak.

      2. Janet,

        My apologies for confusing that detail. Well, I’ll ask Scott ’bout the Omaha Public Library. He actually lives in Chicago now, but his folks are still in Omaha.

        Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas — haven’t visited a one of them, but so curious.

        I’ve said to the Lord before, “If you send me out in the U.S., I could travel the rest of my life seeing amazing places and, most especially, meeting awesome people.”

        If I remember correctly, The Voices of the Martyrs (VOM) are based in Oklahoma. I’d like to volunteer there some time. Do you know about VOM, Janet?

      3. I’ve heard of Voice of the Martyrs but did not know they are based in Oklahoma. Funny how you mention travel as I’ve told the Lord that I’m hoping to see all the far away places I’ve only seen in pictures when we reside on the redeemed earth! 🙂

        By the way, thank you for your condolences. God has been faithful in meeting needs and allows me to wrestle with my feelings in light of His Word without condemnation,; and for that, I am profoundly grateful.

        J.T., I very much enjoyed reading multiple articles on your blog site and look forward to reading more!

      4. I just checked to be certain and VOM is headquartered in Bartlesville, OK. But, if I recall correctly it “began” abroad with Richard Wurmbrand. If you can get your hands on a copy of, Tortured for Christ, it’s worth the read.

        There are some aspects of doctrine expressed that I do not agree with, but mostly it’s very inspiring and encouraging to read the caliber of loving and forgiving like Jesus you’ll read from VOM. The members of the Body living here in the US have no idea experientially about the kind of persecution happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

        And, I love some pure gospel of Jesus — no mixing covenants and making me feel, or teaching me, like I’m under the law of Moses when I’ve been set free by grace through JESUS! Amen!

        Several years ago, when the ministry was first introduced to me, I’d look at job listings with VOM. I really wanted to be a correspondent for them, but my schooling does not meet their requirements. I’ve yet to complete a degree. And the degree I now want to complete is an AAS in CIS (concentrate on web design/coding).

        My debut is a little later than most, but with God all things are possible.

        He inspired Donya and I to launch this blog so it is praises be to God to know you are enjoying the posts, Janet!

        And, I love how you expressed wrestling with feelings in light of His Word WITHOUT condemnation. PRAISE GOD! YES!!

        I’ve yet to get this up on Land — just created it — but our email is:

        landstoriesfromthejourney@gmail.com

        If you’d like to correspond…I love writing e-letters 🙂

        And, Janet, you are a warrior daughter of our MOST HIGH Abba, a precious pearl, and I am thankful to be sisters in Christ!

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