Saturday, November 22, 2008

Library Appreciation Sunday

This is the Baxter Springs, Ks. library, built in 1872 as a courthouse.

Do you have a favorite library of memory or of current use?

In Kansas City, we used to have public libraries in some of our high schools. I remember frequenting those with my mother, and we also took the trolley (yes!) to the main library downtown. The very best thing about the libraries of my childhood was that they had Nancy Drew novels. Not every library in the country allowed those books on their shelves, because a lot of people considered the books to be trash and bad influences. My libraries allowed them, however--thank you!!-- and I am convinced that is why I'm a mystery writer today.

30 comments:

Nancy P said...

If there are any lurking librarians here this morning, here's a big fat thank you for everything you have done for readers and writers.

FARfetched said...

And the boys' equivalent, the Hardy Boys. Amazing (to me) that some libraries wouldn't have had them… those mysteries were like staples of early readers.

Work has been wrapped up and emailed back to the office where it belongs. What will Sunday bring?

And a big fat WHEW! from Planet Georgia. My mother-in-law has been in the hospital all week with intestinal bleeding… turns out to have been caused by Plavix. Now that it's clearing up, she should be coming home tomorrow.

maryb said...

When I was a child I wanted to grow up and buy my local library branch so I could live in it. Seriously. I had a whole fantasy about living in that building. It was a very modern structure with two-story plate glass windows on two sides. They've since sold it (to a used record store) and built a new branch that is very lovely and much bigger and with MUCH more parking. But it never took the place of the old branch in my heart.

Nancy Drew was one of the few good fictional female role models for young girls.

FaR - glad to hear your mil is ok.

Beth said...

I remember discovering the school library when I was in middle school, and methodically reading every book by an author, then finding another one, etc.

As I've traveled and moved, I've always joined the local library. Always had a stack of books by the bed. Now I buy them instead of renting them - but maybe I should do both!

Coeur d'Alene had a really sad library forever - this past winter, while I was gone, they built a fancy new one. I'm ashamed to admit I haven't even seen it. I'll make a point to do so before I leave again.

Thanks for the reminder, Nancy! And good Sunday to those who follow - I'm off to bed. Glad all is well, Farf.

(Trixie Belden was my favorite!)

Beth said...

Oops, forgot to subscribe to comments - pretend I'm not here!

Nicola Slade said...

I once borrowed a book on a Saturday morning,(aged about 10), read it, returned for more in the afternoon and was rejected as I 'couldn't possibly have read a book in that short time'. Oh yes I could! How many other people have been thrown out of a library for reading too much, do you suppose?
I read obsessively all the long series of boarding school books, the Chalet school, the Abbey girls,etc, and I'm sure that the bliss of entering those worlds is why I'm a writer today. And why I love series - which is why I'm close to finishing book two in my Victorian mystery (hopeful) series.
I wish someone had suggested I should train as a librarian and can't imagine why I never thought of it myself!

Jen said...

Books saved my life, and when I was a kid libraries were more like church to me than any church ever was. I'm still locked out of my regular pc so don't have access to my pictures, but this is a small picture of my childhood neighborhood library. And the librarian at my elementary school was like an extra grandmother, she taught a group of us to embroider and led us to make tapestries that represented the books we loved that won the Newbery Medal. And then in high school I used to skip school to ride the public transit to the big library in downtown Miami and just sit and poke through the shelves all day.

Beth, I also preferred Trixie Belden to Nancy Drew. :) And for boy-detective characters I liked The Three Investigators more than Hardy Boys.

Farf, adding to the chorus of healing wishes for your mil.

AndiF said...

I'm enjoying everybody's library memories

I loved our neighborhood library, 3 blocks (and one street crossing) from our house. It was a small house made over into a library in the 20s -- it had to-a-little-kid towering wooden shelves and a squeaky wooden floor. It was literally crammed to the rafters with book. I thought it was the most perfect place on earth and I spent as much time as I could there.

But it got to the point where there was no more room for books so they replaced with ugly 50s modern architecture. I never loved the new place but it did hold a lot more books so I eventually forgave it for taking away my first true love.

The ugly 50s library is gone now too. Here's the newest version (with a nice little mention of that first lovely library).

I read the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and the Hardy Boys but they were just the filler until I found the next "horse" book.

Maria Lima said...

Morning, all! Nancy, what a great them. I adore libraries and all librarians (full disclosure: my sister is a librarian, as are many of my friends).

The San Antonio library main branch is quite brilliant, as is the Alexandria main branch and the Vancouver Public Library. Of course, in my neck of the woods, the Mecca of libraries exists: the Library of Congress. :)

Libraries are magical places, a doorway into so many worlds. No matter how small a facility, there's still magic inside. I remember checking out stacks and stacks of books, then returning in less than a week to take out more.

I'm snuggled in my warm woobies today, as it's all of 29 degrees out. Planning to spend a quiet day reading.

Far - glad you got work done and that your MiL is okay.

::waves to Nancy, Beth, MaryB, Nicola, Jen, Andi and to those of you coming later::

Lisa M said...

I am struck by the reverence with which you all discuss your early experiences with books.
I read Nancy Drew, preferred Hardy Boys but didn't really discover reading as a passion until High School.
I was a very slow reader, still not very fast. In high school, I discovered different racial experiences with Richard Wright's Native Son, the settling of the American plains with Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth, and snippits of European history/culture in Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. Most of all, I remember wanting so much to be Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.

I have no particular library I remember, but I experience an exhilaration whenever I enter one now. The thrill of what could be. What new books I will enjoy. The excitement of finding the latest from one of my favorite authors.

I feel like Nicola, Why didn't I think of being a librarian years ago.

Farf--Glad family is on the mend.

Waves to Beth, MaryB, Jen, Maria and Andi.

Sensational Sunday to All.
Kick back and read a bit.

Beth said...

The Bobbsey Twins! Yep, them too, andi. Read a couple Nancy Drew, but for some reason they didn't hook me like the Trixie Belden characters. Guess I was in love with red-haired Jim. :-)

I'm finally reading Joel's book, Nancy, so I might snuggle in bed until football comes on. 27 and dreary out there.

My friend Woody is doing the Arizona Ironman today - so while we're reading, he's running/biking /swimming 140.6 miles. No accounting for what some people call 'fun!'

Nancy P said...

Hardy Boys, yes, and the Bobsey Twins. I STILL have never read Trixie or the Three Detectives and never heard of them until I was all growed up.

Maryb, you make me want to write a short story about a little girl who lives in a library.

Nicola, I never got thrown out of anywhere for reading too much, but I did hide how much I read in 7th grade. We each had construction paper "pockets" on the classroom wall and we were supposed to slip into them little bits of paper with the names of books we read. My pocket got so much fuller than anybody else's I pulled a few out and stopped putting more in!

Hi, Far, Beth, Nicola, Lisa, Jen, Maryb, Andif and Maria and. . .boran2 at the end of the day. (Smile)

Paul Lamb said...

My earliest library memory is of the original one in Richmond Heights, Missouri (near St. Louis where I grew up). It was in the basement of the city hall, and I would often walk there all on my own -- about a mile away -- even though I couldn't have been more than 7 years old at the time. I can still envision the stacks I used to prowl through. Since I moved away they've built a modern library, probably with a proper kids section. As an adult I spent some time in the Carnegie Library in Ottawa, Kansas when I used to work down there. Now I donate books to the St. Clair County Library in Osceola, Missouri.

Small-town libraries are real jewels. I've always thought about them that though you may not find what you like there, you will like what you find there!

Beth said...

That reminds me, Nancy. I went to a British school for 4th and 5th grade. When I returned to the States for 6th grade, I was so far ahead of my classmates the teacher would start each class with, "Class, open your books to page X; Beth, go to the library."

No wonder I don't remember much of middle school - and why I had so much time to read!

Kelly McCullough said...

I can see the complete 70s run of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew from where I'm sitting right now.

On library memories: My top of the list is my wedding. Laura and were married in a registry office in Scotland (Leith) that had once been a public library--beautiful old building with a huge marble staircase and a lovely sculpture in the entry hall.

FARfetched said...

Anywayz, the Allegan (MI) public library was one of the Carnegie libraries, built before WW1 IIRC. Nice brick place, a bit drafty in winter and (of course) not big enough. It was built on the edge of the bluff overlooking the Kalamazoo River, so I think the original structure is still there & they've added more space below it, extending from the basement where they kept the kids' books when I was younger.

They had a decent sci-fi section, and a friendly librarian who knew enough about it to help me get started.

One of my favorite jokes involves a library and (of course) a chicken.

Kelly McCullough said...

Probably should have mentioned that we picked that registry office because it was an old library and we both pretty much grew up in our local and school libraries.

Nicola Slade said...

Hi Beth, my two elder children had the opposite experience to you in that they went to the American School in Cairo for 1st and 3rd grade respectively. It was a great experience for all of us and the parents of the expat community were allowed to use the school library which was bliss for me! I used to wheel the baby in and park her in her buggy while I browsed the shelves.

Beth said...

Nicola, I agree wholeheartedly. I went to American schools overseas for nine years - I can't say enough about the quality of education they provided. Of 175 students in my graduating class, all of us went on to college. It was the one in New Jersey that lagged...

Cairo? You have been around!

bono said...

Jen, a library at your elementary school? You must be much younger than I am. My elementary school didn't have a library. We had to walk "downtown" to go to the library. However, it wasn't until I became a library aide in high school that I really developed a love a reading. It started with reading biographies due to my love of history.

Speaking of To Kill A Mockingbird, Lisa, I just reread it after reading the biography of Harper Lee, Mockingbird. I am next on the list for the movie version from the local library now. That's a great movie.

And thanks be for librarians who support the first amendment by not succumbing to calls for censoring books.

It's sunny and mild (mid 30's) here today. I think I may have that seasonal affective disorder. I feel so much better when the sun shines.

Have a wonderful, restful Sunday.

boran2 said...

Hi all. I am an infrequent user of the library being mostly a purchase of books.

Today marked the completion of our winter preparations and leaf-cleaning. The only thing left to do is wax madame boran's car. Whew!

maryb said...

Link of the day: a little girl starts her own Library Friends' Program (be sure to click through to look at the little girl's happy picture):

Applying to Sunkist’s “Take a Stand” – its program to supply lemonade stands to community minded youth aged 7 to 12 – Miranda explained she wanted to give back to her community.

The lemonade stand arrived in late summer, after Miranda had begun her fourth grade year at Upper Lake Elementary School. Miranda asked for and received support for supplies from both Sentry Market and Hi-Way Grocery, who generously donated lemons, sugar and ice.

She also creatively handcrafted ribbon and bead bookmarks to supplement her sales and satisfy her non-thirsty patrons.

Miranda’s delicious, old-fashioned, fresh-squeezed lemonade was a satisfying surprise for those who stopped for refreshment on Sept. 13, a warm and sunny Saturday in front of the historic Upper Lake Library.

The proceeds of her effort netted $49.12 and in honor of her community spirit, the donation was matched by The Friends of the Lake County Library.

When questioned how she wanted her donation spent, Miranda emphatically responded, “More picture books and chapter books!”

This young lady’s efforts resulted in 11 new books for juvenile readers and to each book was affixed a special bookplate honoring its benefactor.


I foresee that if Miranda keeps this up she will someday have a library branch named after her.

Nancy P said...

Aww, what a sweet story, Maryb. Thanks.

Boran2, we likes book buyers, we does.

Nancy P said...

Hi, Paul. Carnegie Libraries. I'm always so glad when I discover a town that still has one.

Beth said...

I bought a book today! (Well, I bought two - one was for a book drive, so I don't know which one it was.) A friend recommended it - "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. Interesting view on the rules we set for our lives. My bedtime reading tonight.

I did my part to help the book biz - now all I have to do is go visit our new library this week.

Happy week ahead, everyone...

Nancy P said...

G'night, Beth, and everybody.

Jen said...

Jen, a library at your elementary school? You must be much younger than I am. My elementary school didn't have a library. We had to walk "downtown" to go to the library.

I'm 38, but I'm not sure age is the relevant factor since my mother grew up in the same area and also had libraries at all of her schools. The public school system in Miami had a lot of problems, challenges, and issues -- my mother's schools were actually segregated when she attended -- but at least we had libraries.

Hope you get a good sunny day today, Bono. :)

Liss said...

from birth to age 6 we lived around the corner and down the hill from the Antioch Branch of the Johnson County Library. My very first library card (which I may have someplace) is from that library.

Kelly McCullough said...

With Jen on the elementary library. I'm 41 and went to a very unusual school, but most Minnesota schools had libraries for at least several decades before that.

Nancy P said...

Hi, Liss. That's my mom's fav library.