Ahh… The Smell of a Library Book!

Day 12 – “L” Libraries and Literature 

Growing up in a small farming town with a population of around 3,000, there was only so much to do during summer vacations. We could go to the park, go to the pool, go on walks around the neighborhood, or to a friend’s house to play. Then there was the local library. Nothing huge to speak of, just a small house that had been renovated into a tiny, two room library, separated into children’s and adult sections, and by genre from there.

This building was my home away from home. I have so many heartwarming memories of my mom taking my sister and I there on sunny afternoons to load up our book bags with Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children; taking those treasures back home to curl up under my favorite juniper tree in our backyard, lost in mystery for hours on end.

I loved the thrill of seeing my name written, permanently in ink, on the library card that was tucked into the inside cover. I adored the old school Dewey Decimal System that our schools had; rows upon rows of index cards, details of each book neatly printed in typewriter font, tucked away in gorgeous wooden drawers. Alas, those days are gone. I haven’t been into a library in years that hasn’t upgraded to an electronic system. While certainly more efficient, I miss the manual methods.

Throughout college, I frequented the university’s library primarily for academic purposes, as reading for fun was pushed to the back burner. Even though I wasn’t perusing the fiction shelves, the library was easily my go-to place for studying. I had a few reading nooks, tucked away on the second or third floors, boasting gorgeous views of the campus that I always snuck off to.

Post-college, I developed a habit of buying books versus checking them out at the library. This has resulted in a home library that is in desperate need for an annual purge. Only recently, I have started frequenting my city’s large public library, checking out books (even if I have to be put on a wait-list) instead of spending unnecessary money on them (definitely something that keeps my husband happy!).

Don’t get me wrong, I still buy certain books that I know I will want to keep in my personal library, and will often buy books on my e-reader for convenience sake, but I am thrilled to finally be back in the groove of checking out library books, and hope that this is a routine and tradition I can pass along to my family, creating happy memories for my children.

Do you still go to the library? If so, what do you like about it? If not, what factors have made you go a different direction?


17 thoughts on “Ahh… The Smell of a Library Book!

  1. My hometown (of 6k people) went digital when I was in the 4th or 5th grade. I remember the upgrade was some big local tax bill and the subject of many a can-of-coors’ debates. But, they expanded and digitized the place. I remember feeling very important looking up books on the computer, because we didn’t have one at home. Even though I rarely go to a library now (as the books I read are “en vogue” and therefore on a perpetual waiting list), I do like the nostalgic feel of comfort and import I get when I step in one.

  2. Love libraries! Used to take my children to the library once or twice a week when they were small (they’re 16 and 19 now so not anymore!). Like Jim I review books now, and with it being so easy to download books on to my kindle, I don’t often go now. Though your post has inspired me to make time for a visit 🙂

    1. I totally get the ease of downloading books, I do it frequently on my Nook (I especially like having books to read at night, my Nook is backlit so I can read without bugging the hubs with a side lamp on!). I am definitely going to make an effort in taking my (future) kids to the library though!! 🙂

  3. My mum never buys books and devours piles of books each week, then they sit in a book bag ready to return. I love old libraries, the smell and the quietude. I used to spend hours and hours there. I set up and taught adult literacy classes in the computing rooms in libraries to encourage people who were frightened or in awe of libraries to gradually become more confident to enjoy them. Sadly, there aren’t so many books available in local libraries anymore, libraries are in danger of losing their identity. If we don’t use them we’ll lose them. Great post. Thank you.

  4. I always wanted to love libraries. I loved the idea of all those books in one place. However, the library was too far from us when we were growing up. We would have to have gone by bus, about an hour and a half in each direction. So it was not within our reach. I love books but I just never had access to a library. Even now, or local library is somewhat of a joke. Two floors, one all children, the other is full of computers and study stations. Very few actual books.

    1. Oh my gosh! That would have been quite the trip! I am very lucky in that the local library (albeit small) was in very close proximity to our house, and am even luckier now. The Salem Public Library is HUGE! Three floors of pure heaven 🙂

  5. I have found memories of my childhood library as well. And the summer policy where you could check out a zillion (or so it seemed) books at once instead of the usual limit. While I don’t visit the library quite as much as I used to, I still get a little rush pulling the books of the shelves after all these years. Fun post!

  6. I’m still a bibliophile, so yeah, books for me. I read things for free online from time to time, but the laptop doesn’t afford me the same comfort and versatility as that of a book. I download some stuff onto Kindle and read that from time to time, but again, because free or only e-available.
    I DO still visit the library. I loooove the library, always have. They’re building a new, closer library here and I am excited even though ground hasn’t been broken yet!
    I buy books now and again, but not so often as I check them out 🙂

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