Tuesday, July 15, 2014

She Ain't What She Use To Be

Remember the libraries of our childhood?
This is the library I went to when I was a kid. Well, this postcard is a bit before my time but that's pretty much how I remember it looking.
The children's section was in the lower level. I believe we walked through the adult part and then downstairs to the kids area. There might have been an outdoor entrance also but I am not sure. 

I was always in awe and wondered when I'd be allowed in the adult library. We had to be quiet and could only whisper. The library was a serious, important place. I think there were tables where you could read silently. 
Then there was the card catalog (sure would like one of those now!) where, if you knew how to use it, you could find just about any book you wanted. I am sure the mysterious librarian would help if asked. I don't remember her at all...but I am sure she was there to tell us to be quiet.

Fifty plus years later the old library building is still there, but it's a real estate office. The outside hasn't changed much. I'd like to walk around inside, but I am sure it would be quite different. 

Libraries certainly are not the same anymore. They have changed radically to keep up with the times. As Martha would say "It's a good thing".
About 20-25 years ago our library started lending art as an attempt to gain interest. I wonder how that went..... I know I borrowed a few pieces. 

Our small town has a great library; the children's section has a play area for preschool kids, tables and chairs for playing board games, computers, a large room for story time and LOT of other activities; children can borrow movies, books, magazines, puppets. I started taking grandson J to the baby activities before he was a year old, and, at 9 he still loves going to the library. During the summer the library offers many drop in activities for the kids. I wasn't able to take the grands to many this summer, but 2 weeks ago they experimented with cornstarch and water. Every tried that? My mom showed us that combo's weird attributes many years ago. The library tossed in some food coloring and pop rocks.....it was so cool. My grandsons played for a long time before they were ready to leave. Friday we're going to another fun event. In the summer they have one free, outdoor movie...which we plan to attend. At the end of the summer reading program there's a carnival, we attend that also. There's something fun to do (for kids) at the library nearly every day. Too bad more people don't take advantage of it. 
There are many adult activities too!
Yesterday I had grandson J all day and I wanted to make some cards at the Stampin' up Stamp a long (held at the library). He just came along with me and hung out in the kids section while I stamped cards for over an hour. When I was finished I went to look for him....he wasn't on the computer, or in the movie aisle, nor could I see him browsing for books or playing with the 15 or so other kids with legos in a corner set aside for school age children. Hmmmm.....I took one more walk and found him standing in line to check out his many books & movies. But wait, he had already checked out some. All books/movies are kept at my house so I don't have a problem with that. I'm so happy that he's growing up to be a confident, independent, library patron.  He did play with the legos earlier and found his own books and movies and was going to read while he waited for me.
When we got home I made sure we did some reading.

Do you have any library stories to share?


  1. Don't you just love it when the young guys take such initiative like your grandson did? Give him a big hug for me. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  2. Libraries sure have changed. I remember our having the children's section upstairs and the adult section downstairs. It had lots of dark woodwork and you could smell the books and wood! We had to be very quiet too. I loved reading when I was a child. I think I read every fairy tale written.

  3. You are probably the most influential in giving him the good attitude he has toward learning and libraries! He is so lucky to have you!

  4. When Jack bought our house,I went with him a few times and it was at this building(O'Connor Realty). When they bought it,it was in the contract to try to keep it as original as possible.

  5. I always loved going to the library and as you, I considered it a sacred, very special place. We were always taught to be very quiet as we walked through the halls and I remember gingerly approaching the Librarian to ask for a specific book. She took me by the hand and stood me in front of the card catalog. After I understood how to use it, the world was my oyster! I loved the library and love reading! I have taught all my grandchildren to love it too and have had the pleasure of teaching several of them to read.

  6. Linda, how cool you found the old postcard! I remember the library being a serious place too! But like you say not now! The library system here does amazing things year round. Then so does Portland parks in the summer with free movies & concerts in the parks we are truly blessed. Making learning fun seams like an excellent idea to keep children in the libraries!

  7. I take my Mom to the library every two weeks. It's a highlight and a very busy place. It seems the nicest people work at libraries too, which is a big plus. When I was a little girl we lived in a new community which didn't have a library, but every couple of weeks the Bookmobile would come to the shopping center for the day. It was such a treat to climb into the Bookmobile and take books home for "free". As a child I was always amazed that it cost nothing to choose any books to borrow. Good memories.