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