Aug 23, 2008

Meme: Libraries

It's been some time since I did any Booking Through Thursday memes. I wasn't going to do this one, since I feel I've already talked about the library I visited as a child here. But I really enjoyed reading about others' library experiences, so I wanted to share a few more (even though I'm several days late). Here's the BTT question:

What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

I don't remember when I first visited a library. My mother always read to us daily as children, and I'm sure she took me to the public library before I could do more than chew on board books. It seems like we went almost every week. There were always library activities: storytimes, crafts, puppet shows, summer reading programs, etc. I remember two that were particularly cool: one where we made dragons (or dinosaurs?) out of clay, and then next week picked up them up baked and glazed from a kiln! I kept mine for the longest time before it broke. Another where we made Ukrainian easter eggs with a method that uses wax. Very cool!

But of course, the main memories of library visits are about books. When I was very small, I tried to remember the shelf locations of my favorite picture books, since I couldn't remember (or read) author names. I still know the layout of that library better than any other I've ever used. I remember the first time I went from the children's and juvenile fiction side of the room to browse the adult fiction. I felt so brave! I was nervous someone would tell me I wasn't old enough to read those books.

My sisters and I used to take piles of books home at a time. Even back then I liked re-reading my favorites. My mother would recognize which books she'd seen me read before, and make me pick out new ones as well. I remember protesting one time that I'd already read them all! Can you imagine how presumptuous I sounded? All the books in the entire library? I don't remember exactly what her reply was, but I felt sorely chastised for my ridiculous statement.

There was a time when my older sister and I read a lot of Chose Your Own Adventure books. We would first read them picking our natural responses, then try and read every possible combination of choices. I can't remember how many variations we got out of those books, but it was a lot. For some reason, my mother disapproved of them. I think they're pretty silly now, but back then it was highly entertaining. I'd like to think these books help get some kids interested in reading, because of their interactive nature.

I can't think of any funny stories from my early library visits. But thinking about the Burien Public Library I recall one of its most attractive features. Just inside the entrance there is a lobby/courtyard with a little glassed in atrium that has no roof. It was always full of plants, and I think there was a small fountain. I always remember the pleasant sound of dripping water (but that could just as well have been rain). It was so pretty.


  1. I loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books! And like you, I often came hope with huge piles of books. I was allowed to check out as many paperback books as I wanted and you can bet I took full advantage of that policy.

  2. Choose Your Own Adventure books! Now there is a trip down memory lane. I'd completely forgotten about those until your post. I did the same thing as you, choosing my natural choices the first time through and then reading every other possible combination. They were a lot of fun back then and I agree that the interactivity may be just what some kids need to get their noses in books early on.
    ~ Bekah

  3. We didn't have those choose-your-own books when I was young, but we have them at the library now - I think they're great!

    Thanks for visiting Tea Leaves!


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