Yesterday the question of the week on Booking Through Thursday was "What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?" I wasn't going to post my own response to this, but after thinking about it I decided I would, but in a slightly different way.
I don't remember my earliest memory -- they all seem to blend together. I do remember that my mom used to take my siblings and me to story time, though I don't remember much about it. I also remember my siblings and I used to walk to the library from the home where my mom took piano lessons. We would walk down the street and wait at the library until she was finished. One day I misjudged the speed of a car and impatient to get to the library I crossed the street. A screech of breaks sent my mom flying out of the house... but I was ok, waiting on the other side wondering what had happened. Later, when I was 12, I became a volunteer at the library. I was convinced since I was very young that I wanted to be a library... or an author... or maybe both. I did enjoy my time volunteering for the library, though I was very disappointed I never got to stamp books out (like Marian the Librarian in The Music Man) and I quickly decided that being a library was just not the job for me.
At one point I know we had library cards to three different libraries, but not to the one in the nearest town... though I don't know why.
My first library was in the town where my dad worked (the one also where my mom took piano lessons). I love this library. It was a brick building and there was an open fireplace in the children's section, though it was never used. There was a large bronze (now green with age) canon on the front lawn that kids could climb on. I've since read that the canon was given to the town by some resident who had connections with the Philippines. It was donated in 1900, though the canon itself had been cast in a Spanish Foundry in 1790 and used in the Philippines during the Spanish American War.
It was at this library that I read a great children's story that to this day I cannot remember the title or the author and I would love to find it... I wonder if I ever will... It was here that I took my first writing class, which I remember my mom took with me and she wrote a great short story about a man who sounded a lot like my dad... (I wonder where that story is now?) It was also here that in my teen years I read my first Agatha Christie mystery. Many of the librarians that I knew as a child still work at this library and some day I hope to stop by with my daughter. It's been far too long since I was last there.
The second library was the "Wood Library" located in the city where our county seat was. This library had great book sales and it was through this library that I first discovered the Pride and Prejudice movie (1995), which eventually led to me reading Jane Austen. I also lost my wallet at the library once, which inspired me to write a detective story of sorts, though I've never attempted to publish it.
The third library is actually several libraries within a city system, which was located 45 minutes to the north of our home. We mostly visited one of the southern branches of this system and it was at this library I first read Mr Wilmer by Robert Lawson. But sometimes we would venture down to the heart of the city to the old main library building, the "central library". It at that branch where many of the old books were kept and also there that I was finally able to read the Betsy-Tacy books in completion -- books my mom had read as a girl and at the time were out of print.
Now that I live several hundred miles away I don't get to any of these libraries, but I do have two library cards -- one for the library here in my hometown and one for the library in the next county and state over, where I used to live. The latter is by far a superior library and thus one I still frequent, but having a library at the end of your street isn't so bad either.