Libraries – A Love Fest

Yesterday was the anniversary of the opening of the first free public library, the Peterborough Town Library in 1833. The decision to purchase books and open a tax-funded library happened at the Town meeting and for the first sixty years, the books were housed in the general store.  In 1893 they were moved to the current location and there have been two expansions since then.

Here are a few fun library quotes:

“Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.”  Zadie Smith

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” Albert Einstein

“Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul.” Library at Thebes, inscription over the door

“My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.” Peter Golkin

“I have always imaged that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Jorge Luis Borges

I’m a complete library junkie. One of the biggest selling points when I bought my house was that it was a block and a half from the Washburn Library.  On the average week I am there twice.  I know the hours by heart, am friendly with the librarians.  I even have my library card number memorized.  Twice I’ve had the opportunity to spend an afternoon in the Central downtown library in the upstairs reading rooms – times when I wanted to read resource material that they don’t allow you to check-out.  It was warm and wonderful; so relaxing that I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave at the end of the day.

Tell me about your favorite library memory?


26 thoughts on “Libraries – A Love Fest”

  1. I still remember the Jefferson City Library in Jefferson City Missouri. We lived there off and on from the time I was four until the time I was 10 and on Saturdays when my mom went to do the grocery shopping (across the street from the library) she would drop me off. That was the library where i did the incentive program with the map one summer. You colored in each little square of the map for each book that you read, like you were on your way to treasure. I filled up four of them that summer.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can think of several favorite library memories
    1. Storm Lake, IA, Carnegie Library – sitting at the little round table in the round turret of the kids room in basement, poring over possible take-homes while my mom was… ?… upstairs in the big people’s library.

    2. Marshalltown IA, another Carnegie – Sitting around a table with other high school guys and girls, working on some project or paper – laughing and joking. We’d meet here whether we had a project or not…

    3. Half Moon Bay CA – the library was right next to the school where I taught Kindergarten – I would just trip over there after school every week or so to exchange those due for the next dozen for our bookshelves.

    4. Making use of the baby grand piano room, 2nd floor, at the Mpls downtown library, when I was still in an apartment and had no space for a piano. Do they still have that?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Back in the old days on the trail, I recall VS comment several times on Dale’s choice of topic for the day. It usually had to do with news that VS had anticipated would grab Dale’s imagination, often related to astronomy or space. Today is such a day for me, but I got it wrong. I’m not disappointed to be libraries instead of black holes, but WOW, baboons, don’t we live in interesting times?

    Liked by 5 people

  4. While not exactly about libraries, I love this quote by Carl Sagan about books: “What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

    Liked by 4 people

      1. My guess is, the door’s just opening. I’m not a science nerd by a long stretch, but even I can see what an incredible accomplishment this is. Had it been published on April1, I wouldn’t have believed it.


  5. Libraries have, over the years, served many different needs for me. I don’t have a specific “favorite” library memory, but I do have fond memories associated with specific libraries. For instance, it was at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne that I stumbled on a large collection of LP records of The Weavers and other early “folk” groups.

    Considering how random and haphazard my delving into to both literature and music was, I often marvel at the meandering path I’ve followed and the marvelous discoveries I made along the way.

    During my years at SIU, I spent considerable time at the Morris Library; not that I was necessarily studying. A friend, and fellow English major, and I, would sometimes sit between classes, with library supplied head phones on, listening to the same classical music selection. Then we’d head to the student union for a cup of coffee and discuss the merits of the recording we had just listened to. I recall on one occasion running into this friend at the library’s front desk. He was returning some books on playing chess for which a late fee was due. “I suppose we could call you a chess nut,” I quipped. Without missing a beat he replied: “Considering where we are, we could even call me a chess nut in an open foyer.” Ah, sweet college memories!

    Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to having these cataracts removed. At the moment it’s our own Chris that’s speaking in my head, slowly, and not as clearly as I wished due to my compromised vision.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I like libraries, of course, but didn’t grow up as a regular library goer. My parents weren’t library habitués and the local library was quite far from our house. These days I rarely use the library, mostly because I have thousands of books of my own, all of them acquired because I was interested in reading them. Also, I find that the library seldom has the books I am looking for, at least not without having to resort to an interlibrary loan.

    Back in the ’90s, I joined the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, initially because it got me an email address and a connection to the internet but also it gave me borrowing privileges at the U of M libraries. The collections there were amazing and I spent hours roaming the stacks. What was remarkable were the rare and valuable books you could actually check out and take home. I remember checking out an original copy of Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley by E. G. Squier and Edwin Davis from Walter Library. It’s an impossibly rare and valuable book published in about 1850 as volume 1 of the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. (I’ll probably reference this book again if Barbara ever gets around to writing about the Trempealeau excavations.) At some point, the alumni association stopped offering library privileges as a perk of membership and I quit the association.

    Robin worked in the library for several years and even now works as a fill-in at several Hennepin County libraries. She’s a heavy library user, which comports with her choice of reading material.

    We both especially love the old Carnegie libraries, which are a sort of platonic library ideal, and we used to make a point when traveling to seek out the library in any town we visited and to photograph the outstanding ones.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that Tudor-style building. I’m glad it got more-or-less preserved but it’s a shame that Robbinsdale, to my knowledge, no longer has its own library.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Luverne had a Carnegie Library that is now used as a fine arts center. I spent hours in the old library when I was a child and teen. The new one lacks charm but has more books and space.

    Our current town has a lovely Carnegie library that has been expanded in the last 10 years and will bw expanded again. It is a really busy, living place .

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have wonderful (but mixed) memories of the Ames Public Library in the 1950s. It was a typical granite and marble two story public building styled after classical Greek and Roman buildings. When you entered the main doors you confronted a large desk manned by librarians who often seemed determined to protect their books from grimy children. For a building designed for reading, the library was quite an echo chamber . . . all those stone walls and floors! Miraculously, the library was cool and comfortable on a steamy August day.

    The memory I treasure is of “The Little Theater.” This was a window box set into the walls of the library, just outside the entry doors. It was about three feet wide. The Little Theater was created to hold dioramas that depicted characters and actions from children’s books. The dioramas were populated by tiny figures such as puppet-maker Geppetto as he carves the puppet he would call Pinocchio. The displays were always changing. The dioramas were amateurish, yet they had a charm that is hard to explain. One message was clear: the library was hoping to share the delights on its shelves with children.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OT – Here’s a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody played on a church organ that blows me away. If you play it loud enough it may melt the snow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have not read that book but I will see if I can get it from the library. Thanks. And welcome to the trail. Join us anytime.


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