The library is my sanctuary. It is a place I know I am always welcome. As a child, I didn’t visit many libraries. I did use the mobile library when I had access to one, or the school library. I really started to use the public library after I moved to Massachusettes. I found all kinds of amazing books.
One of the first libraries I fell in love with was in Concord Ma. It smelled like books. It was a fundamentally life-changing visit. I had gone there after a visit to the Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home. After that, I started to go to as many libraries as I could. I would sit and read books in the library as well as acquiring library cards.
I found my way to mystery books at Kate’s Mystery Books, which is no longer there. The woman at the shop asked what I was looking for, but I had no idea. She sat me down in an amazingly comfortable chair and began bringing an assortment of books. It was thanks to her that I started to read authors like; Dick Francis, Robert Parker, Martha Grimes, and many others. Mystery books still take up the majority of shelf space.
Libraries became my home when I moved to Vermont. Our local library, The Cobleigh Library, is one of the best. The librarians past and present always seem to go above and beyond. My first experience with the internet took place at the library. I had no idea what I was doing, and it showed on my face. The librarian looked at me and said some of the most comforting words I had ever heard. She said, “No matter what you do it won’t blow up.” I cannot tell you how reassuring those words were to me.
When I go to town for the day, I go to the Grindstone Cafe and write then when the library opens I wander down — usually taking a book to lunch before spending the rest of the afternoon ensconced in one of the comfy chairs reading. The chairs are next to the magazines. I looked over my shoulder at the shelf of the past issues of the magazines the other day, and there safely tucked away was a copy of Inkheart. It seemed to be playing a game of “hide and seek.” Not only was it in the wrong section, but it was also on the wrong floor. I mentioned it to one of the librarians. She decided to leave it there. Because you never know. A slightly different take on the misshelving of books was the time my son found Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy shelved in the travel section of the library. Accidental? I think not. That book has profound advice for travelers.
Libraries serve everyone. I have found them to be a place of safety and information. It is one of the few places that I call “Safe Places.” It is a place that I don’t have to prepare myself for. I don’t need a safety buddy or to worry about what would happen if I had a panic attack. Because I know that I am always safe.
I have also spent many hours there with my children as they investigate all that the library offers them through reading programs and a fantastic selection of legos. And no matter what the book I have never heard one of them say that the book is not a good fit. My daughter would check out large chapter books before she could read just because she wanted to read them not because she could. And every time she was treated respectfully and with kindness by the librarians.
When the weather forecaster announces a storm, I have often seen a run on the library. As much as I would hate to get caught without milk, I would hate to be without a book to read even more.