As a little girl, I remember the days that my mom took me and my little sis to the library. It was BIG and QUIET…and I think we were often the only ones there. We would walk up to the librarian’s desk and whisper our requests…and then follow her in her very slow pace to find copies of The Bobbsey Twins or Nancy Drew or anything by Judy Blume. The books seemed old and even kind of musty….but I LOVED getting library books!
Well, I revisited a public library yesterday. It was BIG and kinda QUIET…but it was hopping! There was so much action in that place, that I could have stayed there all night. I sat at a table waiting for the little kindergarten dude that I will be tutoring each night in this very special place…
The security guard (in uniform) guarded the front door…the reference ladies in the back answered questions and issued computer access to individuals. There was an afterschool program in action in one room and a group of business leaders gathered around a conference table in another. The people, a beautiful cultural collage, gathered around tables, sat in comfy chairs and cuddled on the floor with books. Old and young, across a spectrum of ethnicities, dressed in professional work attire, school uniforms, scrubs, hip-hop apparel and hijabs. Teenagers crowded together, working on homework, texting, napping, talking, leaning on chairs, waiting for the computers. Two women at the table next to me (one American, one not) working on interview questions and prepping for a citizenship test. A little girl with beautifully beaded braids and purple boots with pom poms, looking so sad with tears on her cheeks…unable to locate her mom. A stranger, about six years old, asking me if I was playing a game on that computer of mine. A former student, wandering near my table, waiting and looking, until I finally noticed and spoke to him. A grandmother from a faraway land, sitting on the floor with a child in her lap.
So much to watch. So many stories there…in the books…and in the people that gathered. I love the library.