It looked like a small castle with its blocky stone exterior and long windows. Inside, it was cave-quiet, it smelled old and full of secrets. Until I was eighteen, the library I visited regularly held only shelves and shelves of books; there were no movies or music or toys to check out. And back then, people whispered.
Though I haven't been inside it for years, I still love the Gale Free Public Library. There are no cobwebs over these memories. I see a dark-eyed me lost in a first floor wing chair, reading the latest book in the Betsy Series. Occasionally I'd look around, thinking about my grandmother who was rumored to spend her days here, it having once been the town high school. Did I sit in the chair she sat in? Had I checked out a book she'd touched? Black Beauty. The Treasury of Dogs.
I love libraries. My daughter and I make day trips to the special ones throughout our area, spending hours browsing, reading. Sitting in most, it's easy to see that more than the architecture and the furniture have changed. Carols now hold computers, children aren't content with an array of picture books, and people talk like they're in a mall, not a library. These physical libraries aren't all that's changed.
Enter the virtual library. Months back after a round of blog reading, I came across Library Thing. This online website allows you to build your own bookshelves containing books you've read, and those you would like to read. You have the ability to rate your reads, and even list your recommendations on your blog or website.
Here are the five books I've read most recently, and they way it appears on a blog.
To me there will never be a comparison between the church-like atmosphere of my grandmother's and my childhood library. Don't get me wrong, the virtual library is great fun, after all I'm recommending it. To me, it's an altogether different experience. One that doesn't have the power to tickle the senses. Or evoke a memory. Or remind me of a restful, peaceful summer day reading in a library full of books and history.
What are your favorite libraries? Favorite books?
Thursday, July 05, 2007