We asked I Love Libraries readers and the American Library Association’s social media followers to share their favorite library memories. Here are a few highlights:
“As a child in first grade, ‘going to the library’ was going outside in front of the school and boarding a bookmobile to pick out a book. It was my first experience so it was all I knew, but the excitement was equivalent to seeing the ice cream truck coming down the street. “—Wendy H.
“My mother, the woman I credit for cultivating a love of reading, took me to get my ‘own’ library card when I was six. I still remember the thrill of excitement when I got to sign my name after hers on the back of the card. I was so proud and already imagining all the possibilities of having that little card in my purse. My mother has passed away and I have moved away from that little library but I still keep that card in my purse.”—Grace L.
“My favorite library memory is going into my small town library and asking the librarian which book I should read next. She wouldn't just hand you a best seller—she would ask lots of questions and wander the stacks with you until she found something that she thought you would really enjoy.”—Carol V.
“When I was in sixth grade, I had a research project to do (before the Internet existed). My research project was on the life of Nefertiti. I visited my local library in Queens, and had trouble finding books on Queen Nefertiti in the children's section. I asked the librarian for help, a Chinese-American woman, who took me to the ancient history section where the adults sat and often read their books. We found a lot of books about the queen and I borrowed everything. A few weeks later, after finishing my project, I returned all the books. However, a week later I received a mail from the library saying one of the books was still not returned and that I could lose my library privilege if I did not return the book or pay the fines. I panicked. At the time, I didn't have money to pay for the book. I went to the library and tried to found the same librarian who helped me. I was afraid of not being able to pay off the fine and I told her that I checked everywhere in my home and still couldn't find it. She listened attentively and trusted me. She took the paper and ripped it up and told me not to worry about the fine at all. She also said wanted me to continue coming to the library for help. As a sixth grader and child of immigrants, I felt relieved because I knew my parents would be upset if they found out about the fine. It's a memory I still think about from time to time: librarians removing barriers to students like myself, and ensuring that our own well-beings and visits to the library are so important in the community. “—Raymond P.
“When I was six, I went with my Brownie troop for a library tour with the librarian who then gave us our library cards. Seventeen years later that same librarian hired me for my first library job and became my mentor and dear friend. “—Terri J.
“When I was small, we had a house notebook. When we had weird questions, we would write them down and my mom would turn them into research projects for our Thursday trip to the library. Every once in a while we had to escalate to the reference librarian. I don't know how they felt about our notebook or our crazy questions, but I do know that I felt like there was always a way to find out whatever I needed to know.”—Josie M.
“My grandma was a public librarian, and on Saturday nights after she closed up, she would let my sister and I play games, listen to records, and just have a great time looking at all of the books! She was the first person I knew who had a computer and said it was going to change libraries—she was visionary! When she passed a few years ago (at age 98) the library I worked for gave a memorial gift in her honor to her public library, and now I’ve been in libraries for 20 years. Libraries are a family, a legacy, a gift, and a place for wonderful memories, making new ones.”—Rhonda H.
“An elderly man walked up to the reference desk and said he was trying to remember a building he once visited. The librarian patiently asked questions trying to narrow down this man's search. After about 10 minutes, the librarian figured out the building! To go from nothing to figuring out one building from the thousands in the city was incredible.”—Laura G.
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