SOL: Library Time

Looking down the aisle marked “essays” I spot a vacant leather chair and small end table.  My eyes wander to the books as I walk down the aisle to my intended seat. I slow down and read author names, titles. I stop. I set down my book bag that weighs enough to signal the fasten seatbelts alarm when placed on the passenger seat. I grab M Train by Patti Smith and read the first line. “It’s not so easy writing about nothing.”  Sigh. I read on to the end of the essay, tuck it under my arm, pick up my bag and turn toward a now occupied chair.

I walk past my intended spot. I pass study rooms and carols, pass rows of living room-like chairs with just-right lighting, all filled.

Finally, off in the distance, I see four leather chairs surrounding a small table, and I claim the one vacant seat and settle. Aside from the occasional quiet whisper or someone walking past, there are no interruptions. Some of my neighbors leave. Others replace them. People of all descriptions pass by.

The library is a busy, quiet place.  Bursting with books, magazines, movies, the internet, all forms of media, it is home to everyone. All of it for the taking, for use. It is a place of peace, comfort, and safety. Of words. Of people. Some stay for long stretches of time, others fill a bag and go. They read newspapers, magazines. They read on phones, tablets, and computers. And of course books.

Usually, I don’t spend a lot of time in the library. I’m a bag filler. But today, inspired by Kari Yates’ post, I came to stay.

I finish one book.

Read three chapters of another.

Write.

People-watch.

Tweet.

Research.

Find books.

Today, I experienced the gift of reading in the company of others. It’s a powerful thing when everyone around you is deeply engaged in their reading and learning. You can feel it.

And I couldn’t help but think of my students. What have they read since summer started? They had plans, but are they reading?  When the school doors close and the teachers pack up for the summer, do kids, can kids continue reading?  Uncomfortable questions.

It isn’t surprising to find that library programs create life-long learners. Clearly, I need to promote public library use all year long, not just for the summer reading months. The American Library Association’s (ALA) list of library celebrations for 2016-17 looks like a good place to start a plan for next school year.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. A day to show up and write! Find more slices here.

 

19 thoughts on “SOL: Library Time

  1. I can connect to this line:
    “enough to signal the fasten seatbelts alarm when placed on the passenger seat.” !!!
    I also check out stacks of books that require me to buckle them in so the seatbelt beep in my Subaru stops! Thanks for all the links! I’m adding “spend a day at the library” to my summer To Do list!

  2. I love libraries (and bookstores). I love to be surrounded by so many books and think about all the imagination, experiences, and knowledge they hold. I’m hoping my students are going to read and use the library this summer – they get out of school tomorrow. The library has been such an important part of my life since I was a child. My wish for students is they also see the importance and value and joy of visiting the library. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I tried something like this last summer and was surprised at how little I could concentrate. Lots going on at our local library and it actually wasn’t all that quiet. I’m glad you were able to find a space to read and write in.

  4. I love your post and I love libraries! I’m a regular visitor at our local library, though I seldom linger there. On Saturday as I watched the ebb and flow of people through that space, I jotted down a note to myself to write about libraries. You beat me to it! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great post! I forget about the library as a place to read. Since I do most of my writing and reading at home, it doesn’t occur to me to go there. I bet I’d get a lot of writing done if I packed up my computer and visited the library. Thanks for the idea. I just might do that. 🙂

  6. One of the reasons I loved finding my new home is that a local branch is a block away. I walk there often, and it has different auras at different times. Love your descriptions, Julieanne. I usually only stay for a little while to see if I want a book I noticed. I think I’ll try staying longer next time.

  7. My to-read pile at home is so high, I sometimes forget to go to our public library. I am in need of a day just as you described, so I think I’ll add that to my calendar for next week. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I am also a bag filler. I rarely just browse the shelves, preferring to place books on hold and just pop in to pick them up. Maybe I will follow your lead and just sit and read for a while.

  9. Your title grabbed me. The library is my favorite place to visit, but I often don’t stay long either. Perhaps today will be the day that I find my leather chair and have a seat. Happy Tuesday!!!

  10. I loved your walk through the library, searching out the perfect spot. I feel that writing is a social experience as well. My best writing comes from a writing with a group and sharing a bit…. Welcome to summer!!!!!!

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