Remembering My First Time

no, silly, not that first time (blushes)…the first time i went to the library!   after all, it is library lovers month, you know. 

oh – you didn’t know?  well, go  here to read more about it.

now, back to my first time at the library.  picture me, a tiny three year old holding tightly to my mother’s hand, walking just across the street from my house (imagine that!) and through the double doors of a tall building whose front was covered with the most interesting stones.  for a moment, i was so taken with the different shapes and sizes of the rocks fronting the building that i nearly didn’t realize the heavenly sight before me.

books.  everywhere.

shelf after shelf of them, arrayed before me on both sides of the room.

and the scent!

that mysterious bookish smell of paper and ink which permeates library air and serves as an aphrodisiac to every book lover.

even at three, i was no stranger to books.  no indeed – my mother and grandmother were wise women, and had been reading to me since i could hold my head up.  by the age of two, i already had preferred reading material…Heidi, and the latest edition of Look magazine, which my grandfather would buy for me each week. 

but to see all those books in one place, and then to be told i could take as many home with me as i wanted….

i was in heaven.

when i was six, we moved to another city, and the library was no longer just across the street.  but i managed to coerce someone into driving me there at least once each week, and i’d come out with my arms full of books, a ridiculous sloppy grin on my face. 

and imagine my delight when i started elementary school and discovered there was another library right inside the school building!  my teachers allowed me to spend free time helping the librarian, who taught me the Dewey Decimal System before i could even add or subtract.

fortunately, i’ve always had the ability to buy books of my very own.  yet, there is something so magical about being allowed to borrow any book i want – it frees me to try reading about all sorts of strange and peculiar things, to search out new authors buried like treasure in the stacks.  libraries are such gifts, huge storehouses of knowledge and information and wonderful stories waiting to be discovered.

and all there for the taking.

oh yes, that first visit to the library was the beginning of an everlasting love for me.

now tell me…do you remember your first time?

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8 thoughts on “Remembering My First Time

  1. Oooh what a great topic. My earliest library memories are of the large bell in the front of it, getting my very first library card, and I remember being fascinated by the date stamps the librarians used to let us check the book out. That was a small town library.

  2. When I learned to read in kindergarten, when I was four, I read all of the books in the classroom in a month or so. So, the teacher gave me special privileges to go to the ‘big kids” library…it wasn’t very big, but I felt so great!

    We moved when I was six, and my new public library had this awesome Where the Wild Things Are mural in the childrens’ section. I loved it!!

  3. Wow! That’s a trip down memory lane! I have two distinct childhood memories of the library. The earliest was going to our old downtown library in an old building with very tall steps and large columns in front. (The building remains — so far, at least, as part of our local community college, and before it WAS the library was the building in which my mother attended high school!) It had very tall ceilings, very tall shelves, and of course I was a very little girl! There were amazing children’s books with lots of pictures in them and I was entranced!

    The other youthful recollection I have was — after I had my two-wheeler and was free to roam — riding to the East Lansing library and checking out my favorite youth books, including Nancy Drews and Sal Fisher, Girl Scout — along with all the Marguerite Henry “Misty of Chincoteague” books. I had twin baskets on my back wheel and would take as many books as they’d allow and ride home to devour them!

    How fun to step back in time. Thanks, Becca!

  4. I remember the library that I first went to, but my actual first visit… hard to conjure it. I remember all the wood, and that there were windows dividing rooms up. And I remember that I always wanted to get new books, but was often reluctant to return the book I’d borrowed last week. In fact, there is a copy of “The Tale of Mrs. Tiggywinkle” which is the rightful property of that very library… (which is now my brother’s employer) … still on my bookshelf!

  5. You know how much I love libraries…and the libraries of our youth? There was something so very special about those. I think back and recognize now the magnificent architecture of most of these buildings — the doors!! The frescoes…and inside the windows, the old tables, the window seats…newer, more modern libraries lack that “feel”.

  6. Actually, I don’t remember my first time. I think I was far too young to retain memories when I first set foot in a library. By the time I was old enough to remember things, it wasn’t the details of the library I remembered but the large stack of children’s books that would come home with me each time — something like 14-15 of them in one visit.

    My first library was somewhere in Washington, D. C. I then moved on to a library in a small town in Northern Virginia. It was a tiny library but it served the entire county and once again I brought home many books, only much bigger, more adult versions even before high school.

    The only library environment that has ever really made a lasting impression on me was that of the Library of Congress where I made occasional trips for required research on one college paper or another. When one attends a Northern Virginia university it seems that it’s almost a requirement to take advantage of our national library. The quiet, the size of it all, the beautiful woodwork, the lamps on the desks where we waited for our treasures to arrive and where we had to read them …. It was all very impressive, but I don’t care for cities so I guess I’ll never visit there again.

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