Libraries are in my blood

When I was a kid, we went to the library every Saturday. It was a magical place for me. I loved words and books so much.

At the time, the Jackson County library had a rule that you could only check out six books at a time. Six! That was not nearly enough. And luckily for me, the children's librarian, a woman named Myra Getchell, said I could check out as many as I wanted.

When I turned 16, I got my first job at the library. [I still remember what I bought with my first paycheck: a half pound of caramels, a basket, and most importantly, red-striped Adidas so I could look like all the other kids whose parents could afford red-striped Adidas.]

I worked in the children's deparment, and I was so young, I used to hide in the stacks when I should have been shelving and read Judy Blume books. So young I once slipped and called my boss, "Mom." I can still feel the blush on my cheeks!



I was recently in my home town, kicking off Jackson County Reads, and told that story. It's not one I normally tell, but when I did there was a wave of laughter. People started pointing. And there was my old boss, Pat Blair.

This week is National Library Week.



site stats

Add This Blog to the JacketFlap Blog Reader
Tags:
aww.. love this story!

I worked in a library before my son was born,
they had me work in the children's room--and I fell in love.
This story charmed me and that picture is absolutely endearing. I especially love the image of you sneaking off to read instead of shelving books. :) Hee hee...it really is an addiction, isn't it? What a great and powerful force libraries -- and librarians -- have been in so many lives.

In my very small town, the rule was two books at a time until you were ten, then it was four and you were allowed into the young adult section. When you turned 12, you were allowed six books. When you turned 13, and if you had permission from your parents and the librarian, you could peruse the adult sections. At 18, AND with a special mark on your card that the librarian had approved you, no more limits on book checkouts. And a happier milestone I could not imagine.

Oh how I chafed against the book limit! But like you, I benefited from a librarian who took pity on me when I came to the counter with ten(!) books, tried to whittle it to four, and started to cry when I absolutely could not get it down past seven. She upped my limit to six books and gave me a list of 50 books to read, with everything from Dickens and Austen to Heinlein and Bradbury. If I completed the reading list and submitted a one page written report to her after completing each one, she would give me the special mark on my card and give me full access to the entire library. I was a fast reader and had already read some of the books on the list, but several of the books were a challenge and I was, after all, only 10/11. Nonetheless, it took me less than a year and I still have that library card to this day.
We were allowed in the adult section, as far as I remember, whenever we wanted. When I was 12 I followed some of my favorite sci fi authors upstairs and discovered that what Heinlein and Silverberg wrote for kids was not at all like what they wrote for adults.
I remember that 6 books was never enough. So hard to choose. It didn't seem to matter that I could come back the next week and get more. I wanted them all. Now. :)

Unfortunately, I feel that way at the bookstore, too. :(
I love being able to put books on hold. As soon as I hear about a new book in a series or by an author I love, I put it on hold immediately, and usually get it soon after it releases.