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Jan 22

My First Library Memory by Acacia James

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on January 22, 2021 at 12:35 PM by Genesis Gaule

The first memory that I have of a library was when I was about three years old. When I was three, my mom would take me to Storytime at our local library in Spokane, Washington. I remembered I loved going because of the other kids that were there and the enthusiastic way the librarian read.

When I got older I graduated from Storytime and was moved to Activity Time. We would make crafts and read books and I still really enjoyed going. Every time after Activity Time was over I remember going to the kid’s reading section and looking around at all of the books, picking out a few. One thing I remember is that I always brought home a Where’s Waldo book. They were my favorite! I would look at them with my little sister and we would work diligently at finding all of the characters before we had to return the book. 

The library was only a few blocks away from our house, so we went there quite often. I knew where all of my favorite books were on the shelf and was always looking for more. When I found the books I wanted, I would help my younger siblings--who weren’t as enthusiastic about reading as I was--find books that I thought they would like. Once we were done, all four of us walk around the library to find my mom, who was often in the fiction section looking for books as well, so I could tell her we were done.

Then like a mother and her ducklings, we go to the front desk to check out our books. I must have been pretty small or the desk really tall because I remember having to stretch on my tippy toes to look over the counter. One of the most anticipated parts of the trip to the library was the stamp that the librarians would put on the back of our hands. It could be a smiley face, an apple, a star--the possibilities were endless! And to a bunch of little kids, that was pretty exciting.

 I would walk out of the library with armfuls of books and a stamp on my hand with the biggest smile on my face. Knowing that I would be staying up that night reading until I could no longer hold my eyes open (which I did fairly often). I loved going to the library. Now I get to work in a library being surrounded by books all of the time. And that is my first memory of a library.

Jun 26

My First Visit to a Public Library by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on June 26, 2020 at 1:57 PM by Genesis Gaule

I was 16 years old before I entered a public library.

jane eyre by bronte book-cover

My driving started early on the farm, but it didn’t translate into driving my own vehicle regularly until I left for college. Driving to town usually meant running an errand for my parents, like groceries or going to pick up an equipment part. Those errands never included the public library. In fact, I’m certain I never considered it until I couldn’t get a copy of Jane Eyre at the high school library.  

I didn’t regularly read classics as a teenager, but I was intrigued when a title was not included in our school library and my teachers and librarian would not help me get a copy. What was it all about? Why didn’t they want me to read it?

Curiosity is powerful. 

I walked up the front steps to our brick public library. Straight in from the front door, the circulation desk held court. Nervous, even though I spent a lot of time in our school library, I stood directly in front of the desk and waited for the librarian to address me--in a whisper.  

“May I have a copy of Jane Eyre?”  I asked.

“Do you have a library card?” She knew me as well as she knew everyone in our small town. I’d be willing to bet that she also knew the name on every single Library Card.

“No.” I was prepared to turn around and leave. I had no idea what I was supposed to do to gain the privilege only she could bestow on me.  

“Age.” That was meant as a question though it sounded like a condemnation.

“Sixteen.” She pulled out an application card and continued with the questions until she had filled it with her beautiful script. Without another word, she walked through the doors behind her and I listened intently to make sure she hadn’t abandoned me. On her return, she set the library’s copy of Jane Eyre on the counter, removed the card in its back pocket, wrote my name on it with a due date two weeks in the future and stamped the same date on the slip inside the back cover.  

She looked up at me and said, “As you can see this book has been well used. Be kind to it and I expect it back as you have received it.”  

I was afraid to pick it up. A rubberband held it together. Honestly, I had no intention of taking a deep breath while holding it certain that if it didn’t smell like a Great Uncle then my eyes deceived me. Decrepit, abused or much loved? I didn’t know the difference. I had a public library book. I had a library card!  

I read that book, gently turning each page, breathing shallowly and then returning it--early.