Sunday, March 07, 2010

Small Libraries And Me

I always liked small libraries. A few years ago, I walked into the New York Public Library, first floor, looked around, and asked the guard, “Where are the shelves?” I guess he knew a hayseed when he saw one and told me how the place worked. I just wanted to wander through the stacks and see what was there.

We had a library at the school I did not attend out in the remote village where I lived. I actually went to the small nuns’ school up on the mainland where we didn’t have a library. There was a town library (actually, privately run but sort of the town’s) where you could usually find me. It had a junior section where I sat on the floor and read.

Anyway, our remote school’s library did not have a librarian; just two shelves less than shoulder height running around the small room. You took the books you wanted and left the card, or something like that. There probably weren’t a couple hundred books there and they were old.

We had a public library in North Dartmouth, Mass. Larger, but the NY Public Library’s lions could eat it for lunch. The Dartmouth branch was in a cow pasture and they would come up to the windows. We kept the goats out, just in case they were looking for a snack of Hemingway. The place wasn’t open too much, anyway.

I read so much in the mainland library that even as a kid I had full run of the place and no longer restricted to the junior section. That was really neat.


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