Hey all, Dani here.
Good morning everyone. I’m feeling a little bit better than I was yesterday at/after work, but part of that was helped by spending an hour or so browsing the Barnes & Noble web site and looking over books that I want to buy. Oh, and then after I finish writing up this post, I’m going to head over to The Book Loft of German Village site and order another Malamarkus Mystery Box, because it’s fun to see what books the booksellers will pick for me. The first time I picked the box I gave them the genres of Epic Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Manga, and I like what they picked. This time around I think I’m going to go with fiction that makes me feel like I’m playing Dungeons & Dragons…but it can’t be anything official–so no Drizzt, no Forgotten Realms, no Dragonlance. So hopefully I’ll be getting that box by next weekend. We’ll see.
All right, well I guess I need to get into today’s discussion topic. I don’t know how long or deep of a conversation I’m going to have, but today I want to talk about libraries, since it is still National Library Week. Feel free to post your own stories about libraries, whether in your own blog post, or in my comments here. Let’s chat about the awesome libraries, librarians, and heck–even the awesome booksellers–who have been influential in your life.
I still vaguely remember my mom taking me to the library when I was really little. I’ve had the same library card since I was five..because that was how old you had to be to get a card when I was younger. Now you can get a week-old baby a library card. But I so loved going on library trips with my mom. Again, back in those days kids could run around the library without immediate parental supervision. The children’s section used to be in the upstairs of my local library. So the minute we walked through those doors I took off upstairs to find my own books, while my mom meandered downstairs to find books for herself.
I would get little book bags that had a children’s book along with a cassette tape read-along of the book. I definitely know I would get as many as I could carry back then. The card was limited to like 25 books checked out, and I know at that young age I couldn’t carry that many, even with the handles of the bags.
I discovered so many worlds and authors and characters and books at the library. I loved talking with the librarians about what I was reading, and having them suggest even more books to try next.
When I was a sophomore in high school the local library was considering closing my tiny local branch. They said it was because the circulation numbers weren’t high enough. The branch was open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5-8pm and Saturdays from 2-5pm. That’s not a lot of hours in which to accomplish a lot of circulation. I was there pretty much every Monday and Wednesday, for the entire time the branch was open. I would look through the books, check out some, and share computer time with my friends who also came to the library. We did our homework there, and chatted with the librarian (who, for the record, was my mom). She worked on Mondays and Wednesdays, and another librarian covered the Saturday shift.
So when I heard that they were going to close this safe teen hangout place, it did not sit well with me at all. I also happened to waitress at the local pizza shop, which got quite a bit of business. I wrote up a letter for the main branch of the library, and then talked to my boss at the pizza shop. He allowed me to have the letter and a sign-up sheet on the cash register. In just a couple weeks I had collected over 200 signatures from locals who did not want to see the library closed.
After receiving the letter and petition signatures, the main branch decided to keep the library open. I don’t know what other factors went into play with that decision, but I’m glad that I played a part in it. I was 15 at the time. Though a part of me did it because I didn’t want my mom to lose a job she loved, I mostly did it because I love libraries and find what they do and provide to be vitally important to the community.
Libraries will always hold a very special place in my heart. It was because of all of my time at the libraries, surrounded by the magic of books within those walls that I came to the early conclusion that I wanted my life to revolve around books. I wanted to teach books or write books or be a librarian.
This has stayed consistent my whole life. I have a B.A. in English Literature and a Master’s of Library and Information Science. When I couldn’t find a job in a library–apparently because they don’t count all my years of library work from junior high, high school, and undergrad–I dove into the idea of being a book blogger. At least that way I could stay connected with all the bookish news. I still try for library jobs, but my job hunting range has been limited by Damian and I buying a house, so it has to be somewhere I can get to without an outrageous commute.
I have friends who come to me for book recommendations. I have friends who have asked me for help in tracking down an old book from their childhood. I know people who have asked me for reference and genealogical help. And I’m glad to help them with these things. They are services I was taught to provide in library school. It does not matter that I don’t have a position in a library–public or academic. I still consider myself a librarian.
When my friends have children and invite me to baby showers, I always gift them a few books to start the baby’s personal library and diapers, because you can never have enough of those. Books are important. Reading is fundamental.
This is why I choose to celebrate events like National Library Week and Banned Books Week. It’s why I try to keep up with news and events from the American Library Association. I believe in the power of those who keep watch over the books.
So, that’s just a few little stories about my experience with libraries. Thank you for stopping by and for liking all of my National Library Week posts. Please, share your library stories in the comments; I would love to hear them. That’s all from me for now, but I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.