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Readers Share Their Most Cherished Library Memories

A person's hands holding a book in front of library bookshelves

We love hearing people’s favorite memories about using the library, so we’ve asked our readers and the American Library Association’s social media followers to share their experiences with us.

Here are a few highlights:

“My best memory of the library was when my twin boys found the nonfiction section. They were around three years old and obsessed with dinosaurs and sharks. The squeals and excitement that came from them that day is etched in my brain. You would have thought they hit the jackpot!”—Bridget K.

“My grandmother founded her town's library and then was head librarian for many years. I would often spend the night at her house as a child, and would go to the library with her after hours while she caught up on paperwork. There was something so magical about being free to explore that wonderful place on my own in the dim light, with no chairs scraping, doors opening, or voices murmuring. The wonderful scent of paper and ink...I felt like it was my own special world. I have always found great comfort in books and in libraries, and it was no great surprise to anyone when I grew up and became a school librarian!”—Laurie T.

“Watching the light bulb moment when my oldest son realized how the library worked. From then on, every trip to the library he tried to stump the librarians with a question and come up with a word that wasn't in their unabridged dictionary.”—Lydia T.

“Sitting for hours at age five, on the floor cross-legged, surrounded by a pile of picture books I had pulled from the shelves, and being granted all the time in the world by the librarian to read each one through to the end. When I finished, she helped me to carry the books to the desk so that I could check them out to take home with my mom and read them again. When we returned them, the librarian held a solemn conversation with my five-year-old self on the merits of each and every one! Her genuine love of reading mirrored my own; and, on a more permanent level, instilled in me a desire to encourage that love in everyone with whom I come in contact.”—Anita B

“My parents took me and my brothers to the library every Saturday morning—before we could even read—and checked out books for all five of us. This was our tradition for years, and I both love to read and to visit libraries. My husband and I are retired and travel a lot. We visit a library in every city we visit.”—Marge H.

“My favorite library memory is from childhood. After participating in the summer reading program and completing the required number of books to read, I was invited to a celebration party with all of the other kids who had completed the challenge. There were treats and a drawing. My name was drawn for one of the prizes: a cellophane wrapped package of special Spanish peanuts that were sold under a heat lamp with other types of nuts from the Rexall drug store around the corner. I was so happy to have won— it was the first time I had ever won something, and also so happy to be surrounded by people who loved books as much as I did, in a place that I treasured visiting whenever I could.”—Karen B.

“I always went to the library with my mother. Our home library was always full of soft whispers and the smell of hundreds of books! The library had a Stereopticon viewer and a big box of picture cards. It was very old and heavy to a four-year-old and I absolutely LOVED it! I was fascinated by all those cards and I spent my entire time looking at the pictures while my mother browsed and visited with the librarians.”—Suzanne J.

“The winter of 1984, I took my almost one-year-old son to the library in town and a librarian suggested Richard Scarry’s book Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. She said that on each of the two-page spreads there was a little gold bug to search for. That book was a major hit with my son as well as the other siblings that came along. This book has been a go-to baby gift and every little person I have shared it with has loved looking for the gold bug. This librarian gave us a real gift way back when.”—Diane P.

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