The magic of libraries

24 10 2015

In the 70’s, I attended a very small parochial elementary school and lived in a neighborhood filled with both genetic and honorary family.  There was a wonderful library within walking distance and my nights and summers were filled with the adventures of the characters that lived within the pages.  Books were my portal and I absorbed them all – textbooks, classics, popular fiction – maxing out my library card with every trip. One of my favorite birthday memories was the year I turned thirteen, and qualified for an “adult” card.

My first high school (I attended two) had a huge, old, library full of sunlight, worn wood shelves, and big comfortable chairs.  I escaped there as often as I could.  I was in the library of my second high school when the announcement of the Challenger explosion came over the intercom system on a cold January morning.

In college, I worked in the Biology library of the vast University of Illinois library system for three years, and at the Peoria Public Library for a summer.

In grad school, I spent more hours than I could count in the University of North Dakota medical library.

After graduation, I started reading for pleasure again and checked out my first Sue Grafton novel from the military base library – setting me off into a passionate exploration of the mystery genre that has reached nearly 2000 books read since Excel became a thing not just for research data, but for tracking books read.


For a while, through the 00’s, Amazon was my go-to for books.  With growing kids and working more than one job, I didn’t have the time to drive to the county library or to track due dates.  Ordering physical books morphed to ebooks in 2009 when I purchased my first Kindle.  My ebook collection now numbers in the hundreds, as does my physical “to read” pile (aka: “The Wall of Books).  That’s an expensive habit to maintain.

Nearly ten years ago we moved to a town that has an excellent library and an awesome ILL request system.  For many years, I checked out stacks of books each summer to catch up on the mystery series I follow.  Then, a few busy years happened and I got out of the practice.

Recently, that local library moved to the 3M library app.  Seriously cool.  Now, a good chunk of my reading is of books I check out online.

I would not be who I am today, and I would have never been able to achieve what I have, without public libraries – most particularly the East Moline Public Library, where it all began.

Libraries are places of wonder, adventure, and education.  May every child (and adult) have a chance to experience their magic. Long live libraries!!

My reading lists can be found on Goodreads (Elliedakota).


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