Release your inner librarian…
I grew up with a love of libraries. Show me a writer who didn’t. I loved the hush of them, whether in the cool and shade of the old, dark wood library of my LA hometown or the heat and dust of the mobile library permanently parked in the car park of the small desert town where I spent every holiday. I loved card catalogues and flipping through their typed entries, the swish and click of the drawers. I loved the pocket that held the ticket for the book, where you could see all the people who had checked out the book before you, or not. I loved the date stamp. Mostly, I loved walking down the shelves and picking a spine at random, convinced the universe had put that book there for me to find at that very moment. I still believe that.
I fell in love with random books found on many a shelf in the children’s section: Andrew Lang’s many colours of fairy books; Witches of Worm + The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder; Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E. L. Konigsburg; anything and everything about witches, Indians, the American Revolution, magic doors, dinosaurs, girls who went away to boarding schools. I fell in love in the adult section, too, grateful for librarians who let you check out books too old for you. They know that Jane Eyre is perfect for a twelve year old and that, maybe, The Old Man and the Sea isn’t, but that you’re trying to grow. Before I left LA, they built the most glorious library downtown, filled with art and light and books, before they knew that people would want to be in downtown LA again. The library led the regeneration, as they always have. These are my temples, these libraries.
Release your inner librarian with your own home library kit. A friend on Twitter sent me the link to this and I think it is about the best thing ever, after tea. I particularly like the book they chose to advertise their kit. I don’t know who the makers are, but I love them. Happy stamping!
I might have embraced my inner librarian too much. I organise books by subject and genre – not just the non-fiction (after all there’s no sense in having hubby’s car or woodworking books in amongst patchwork and knitting) but I have separate shelves for sci-fi, crime fiction, literary, romcom…. And I love just gazing at them all, remembering their stories – e-readers will never replace that feeling.
I’m not organised at all, actually. I seem to have created little libraries all over the house!
…then that will feel like the first library I remember using. Till I was about 10 I just borrowed books from the mobile van, then started visiting the library in our nearest town. Although part of a row of shops, it felt like someone’s home as the back rooms and upstairs (which would be living space for a shopkeeper) were used as part of the library. About 5 yrs later it was replaced by a new purpose built library with huge glass windows – but it wasn’t the same cosy place 😦