The first library I remember was the library inside Washington Elementary School in Mundelein, Illinois. Each week, I looked forward to walking down the hall and to the library, where I could check out anything I wanted.
Some of my favorites:
- A series about different animals. It was fiction about wild animals (I can’t remember what they were called). The books were short, there were a lot of them, and I couldn’t read enough of them.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, by Roald Dahl.
- Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls.
- Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury.
- The Call of the Wild, by Jack London.
When I got my own library card for the city library, I felt like I had joined an exclusive club. I still remember the first book I checked out: Sam, Bangs & Moonshine.
In the mid 90s, I worked in a library. Each week, children and adults waited in line, holding handfuls of books they couldn’t wait to get home and read.
Too bad people in parts of Philadelphia may not have that opportunity come October 2.
If a city as important to America’s history as Philadelphia loses many of their libraries and ends many of its programs, we lose a little something as a nation, don’t you think?
Cynthia Griffith says
That is very disappointing. 🙁
I also have some great memories with some of the libraries I visited as a child (even as an adult!). I remember the popular books in my elementary school, too. You know the sort — when you finally managed to get the chance to check one out, friends were practically begging you to loan them the book for a little while because the waiting list for it was so long. Heheheh! Fun times 🙂
It’s always interested me how people are so quick to say that kids no longer read.
The library where I worked had kids clamoring for books. Like you mention, Cynthia, when you’re the kid with that special book, you become “cool” in the eyes of those who don’t have it yet. And I’ll never forget seeing a group of teenagers sitting on a curb in a parking lot at 12:30 in the morning already tearing into Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
One of the things I think about a lot is where that zeal for reading tapers off.
Even with video games, movies, and other distractions, I still always enjoyed reading. It was something I looked forward to doing (and still do). Somewhere along the way it really does seem that other things, naturally, take priority in the lifves of teenagers and adults.
But kids still read.
It seems to me that every writer wanting an audience for decades should be thinking about what they can do to make the kids reading to day continue reading tomorrow.
If I had that answer, I’d be a rich man…or at least get a lot of comp copies of books from appreciative authors.
Steve Smith says
This is sad. In a time when couch potatoes roam the earth in search of their next sitcom or “reality” show to consume we need to encourge our kids, family, neighbors and friends to read not take valuble resources away.