Comments: Around Town

I loved your library story! I have to admit, I am not that big on them, although I used to be ... and I have a couple of library stories for you!

In Sutherland, Nebraska, where I grew up, there was a very small town library in an old building. They had comfortable overstuffed chairs that you could melt into and spend a snowy afternoon reading. I still have fond memories of that library. One of my favorite things to do was to find the Audubon Bird Book and study the illustrations to my heart's content! I remember, also, reading a story about two girls named Citronella and Garnet who got locked in the library and had to spend the night. They ate chocolate that they found in the librarian's desk. Our library was very much like the one described in the story. Unfortunately, although I actually tried to disappear in the library, our librarian made sure the building was empty before locking up! I was sure she probably had a stash of chocolate to die for.

We moved to another town in another state when I was in high school. The library was in a dumpy little building, which wasn't pleasant at all. The librarian was a very nice lady, though. And since it was a small and isolated town, and the movie theater had recently burned down, there wasn't much else to do. I went on a Mark Twain binge, determined to read everything he had ever written. At one point, I decided it was time to read A Connecticutt Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Strangely, the only copy listed in the card catalogue was on the "reserved" shelf - where they normally kept the popular new books which had come in. After much hemming and hawing, Mrs. M, the librarian, said I could check the book out "as long as I promised to return it on time and in mint condition". She then produced an old looking book. When I got it home, I discovered it was a first edition copy, autographed by Mark Twain! "To my friend so-and-so (can't remember the name!). Best wishes, Mark Twain" . I am guessing that it had been signed on one of his book tours, and then passed down to a relative. I think it was probably donated to the library by mistake - maybe when someone died and the relatives cleared out the belongings. Anyhow, being an honorable individual, I did not "lose" the book, but read it, returned it on time ... and never saw it again! I went back years later to look for it. Both the librarian and the book were gone. I don't know if she took it, or if someone else absconded with it, or if the library sold it to raise money.

In my experience, the "fun" of libraries has deterioriated since I was a kid. I had the embarrassment of being tossed out of our library here for making too much noise! (Well, actually, it was because I had taken my young kids and two of their friends to the library, and one of the accompanying children had been laughing about a book she was reading. Apparently, they felt she was too loud. I really thought they were out of line, and felt bad for the kid who was only enjoying a book!). A couple of years later, I had worked up the nerve to go back to the library. I did not find the book I was looking for, but I did have the gratification of seeing the man who had tossed us out of the library. It was during a "bug" themed week at the library, and he was dressed up as a ladybug ... a very pissed-off looking ladybug, I might add! It made my day.

Posted by PeggyU at January 2, 2011 06:19 PM

i love your library!
i do not like any of the Orlando-area libraries I have been to.

Glad you're enjoying Brad Thor!

Posted by wRitErsbLock at January 2, 2011 07:10 PM

I have NEVER been kicked out of a library and its funny that you should say it was due to noise. (Being kicked out of one would definitely put a damper on my thoughts regarding them. I can't believe he kicked you out.) Anyway, noise... Librarian #2 literally yelled across the library to Librarian #1, "Don't you hate it when you can't find the book you're looking for?" My eyes got big and I wanted to say to her, "Shhh. You can't do that. This is a LI-BRAR-Y!" Heh.

WB- Oh I love both our libraries. I love them. The new one? I helped shelve the books when I was helping with an Eagle Scout project. I could just find a cozy chair and live there. But the little library in The Village? It's not cozy... but it MAKES you WANT to read. It's not overwhelming... just... charming.

BTW, there is a great genealogical library there in Orlando. Just an FYI. I know women who make big trips to go there...

Posted by Bou at January 2, 2011 11:11 PM

Libraries are a wonderful thing. I have a photo in my mind's eye of the first library I entered, in Miami Shores as a kid.

That story though is AWESOME from a customer service standpoint. How many similar examples have you seen in either the public or private sector? Any idea if these librarians were volunteers or paid staff?

Posted by George P at January 2, 2011 11:43 PM

My hometown library is a small one, open just a few days a week. During my "crazy years (when I went back home to help farm)" I volunteered at the library which I enjoyed very much. They had a couple of different programs they did every year. The librarian directed me to several authors that I still read and can hardly wait for their newest book to come out.

Posted by Tina at January 3, 2011 12:23 AM

I love both the libraries close to me. *Go War Eagles* And since one of them is the same one you attend... I totally get it. That is funny that the other one hunted down a book for you. What a great group of people running that library! Loved the song you and Pamibe posted!

Posted by vwbug at January 3, 2011 05:40 AM

George- I think they are paid. I'm pretty sure. Still, the big libraries are paid and I'm telling you... nobody would have made that effort! I love that little village. We should have moved there, but it was so far east, I don't like it during hurricane season. And I remember every library of every place we lived. My Mom used to take us...

Tina- I should volunteer at a library. I would love it. And it doesn't cost money! For instance, I could never work at Barnes and Nobles. I'd be broke. A library? Absolutely.

VW- This library isn't that far from you either. It's further than the other two, however. It's right off US 1 across from the Village Police Station.

Posted by Bou at January 3, 2011 10:54 AM

One of my favorite libraries was in Edwardsville, IL. It was in a small, converted old stone church...the atmosphere was simply wonderful. Going up the worn steps to the second level was like traveling back in time.

I reserve many books at our local, kind-of small library. One of the male workers there likes to play this funky chamber music when he's leaving a message that my book is in...none of the other librarians do that. Guess he's trying to sound big-town, lol, but it sounds like the music in the background of the Progressive commercials with 'Flo'.

Posted by Mrs. Who at January 3, 2011 06:16 PM

That video is stunning. It reduced me to tears - and I just can't quite figure out why.

Posted by Kris, in New England at January 3, 2011 08:56 PM

My favorite library was the Elgin Library in IL. It was very old and thus had some very very old books in it. Once I found a 1936 edition of The Joy of Cooking! I read it cover to cover - fascinating. I look around in used books periodically and they sell for $400+ !!!

I really liked the library in Lake Zurich until they rebuilt it. I used to love going into their new book stacks. Then with the revamp it was like the books became second class citizens! There were wide open spaces and the book shelves all crammed together so you couldn't see the lower shelf without getting on your knees! I hated it. Visited 2 times and never went back.

Now that we live in MA. Our town is so small we have a one room library. It's in an old stone house and you can order anything you want to order, but there is so little room in the library it's just not a fun place to go look at books. *sigh* I do miss that old Elgin library... although I'd bet the Old Joy of Cooking book is long gone.

Posted by Teresa at January 3, 2011 10:59 PM

I've read all of Brad Thor's books. Have you read any Steve Berry books? And, of course, Vince Flynn is a must. Mitch Rapp makes Jack Bauer look like a wuss. And if you like guys that kick butt, Lee Child's Jack Reacher books are great!

Posted by Denny at January 7, 2011 09:36 PM