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I went to the library on Thursday.

It's hard to fully describe this experience, but here goes.

I haven't been to a library in years.  I think I had forgotten all about places like libraries.  Maggie has swim now at a different pool two days a week.  We went early so I could get my bearings which basically means I needed to find a place to park myself for two and a half hours while she swims.  We located the usual Starbucks, I dropped her off and as I was pulling out of the pool parking log I noticed a beautiful building just next door.  I drove by and it was a library, right next to the pool.  Clearly I must have issues because I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

What happened next never happens to me, I mean it just never does...

I got out of my car and walked into the beautiful glass front door of the library.  The temperature was perfect.  The library was lit by the sun, but all the windows were shaded  so it was a muted light that was lovely.  I walked past the information desk and the woman smiled at me.  She may have smiled at me because I was smiling like a freak, but that's okay.

I walked around toward the back of the library.  There were modern teak colored tables.  People were around, but not too many.  I took a seat and my busy mind immediately wondered about a plug and internet.  I looked beneath my table and there was a set of plugs.  I turned on my computer and was prompted to accept the terms of the library internet.

I'm beaming at this point.

It occurs to me that I am sitting in a quiet space, surrounded by books I love and...it's free.  No one tried to sell me something as I walked in, no one asked me a million questions or had me fill out paperwork, and I didn't have to buy a drink or a danish.  Nothing, nothing was required or asked of me.  That just never happens, not in this world, not to me.  There were no televisions or announcers blabbing or people talking on their cell phones, nothing.

I was amazed how the library made me feel.  I looked around at the other people enjoying the library and I felt like I was right where I should be.  I was at peace and it didn't depend on achieving a goal or a status, whether or not I had the right connections or paid my bills on time.  Everyone was welcome to come in, take a seat and just be.

Life is complicated and it gets more so the older a person gets.  I didn't realize just how complicated mine was until I stepped into the library.  Wonderful, calming, simple bliss.


4 Comment count
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I like your piece.  Like you,

I like your piece.  Like you, I haven't been to a library for years.  Partly because I can never fond the books I want, in local libraries, and partly because I don't like borrowing books, in case I lose or damage them.  Another thing, paradoxically, I find the library silence distracting (because I don't have to block out external noise, I find myself staring at other people, focusing on smells, etc.).

There is one library, however, of which I have been a member but have never used – and which I intend to start frequenting from the end of the month: the British Library.  It is a copyright library, which means that it's supposed to have everything that has ever been published in English.  It also possesses precious manuscripts.  I feel like kicking myself for not using my membership card.  So I intend to start! 

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I <3 libraries too!

I'm so glad you've rediscovered libraries! I work for a public library-based adult literacy program. This is not an accident; I found a job that lets me be in libraries often. Libraries are magical, as you describe so well. They are thriving, bustling, equal-opportunity learning, community hot spots. Most have vibrant central areas if you like that high-energy, people watching vibe, and also little quiet nooks for guilt-free hiding out with your free stuff. Or if you don't like seeing other people at all, you can do it all online. Thank you for sharing your great library experience. You are not alone!

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Thank You Catherine!

The British Library...now that sounds wonderful.  The idea of the silence being distracting is interesting.  I'll have to see if I notice that once I get past my initial library crush.  Thank you for reading and your comment.  Enjoy your library.

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Magical is the Word.

Kate - 

That is the perfect word for it, magical.  Your job sounds great.  I'm up to twice a week now at the library and I'm finding myself more optimistic.  It's such a positive energy that I always wanted my children to have when they were young, but I some how left it behind as they got older.  Thank you so much for reading and your comments.