Today I’m going to The Happiest Place on Earth.
No, not Disney (World or Land).
I’m going to the LIBRARY…
…which actually could be considered a Disney place.
There’s Tomorrow Land…Science Fiction.
There’s Frontier Land…lots of Louis L’amour books
There’s Fantasy Land…er…fantasy books.
There’s Main Street…all the contemporary/historical fiction you could want
There’s even Animal Kingdom…
Sometimes a library looks like a temple…a temple of knowledge.
My love affair with the library began when I was very young in Laurel, Maryland. Our little library in the early 1950s was a block from our apartment over my father’s barbershop. The library and the movie theater were the only two places in town that were air conditioned. I think that was one of the reason our mother would take my little sister and me up the block to the small building full of books.
Now, more than sixty years later, I can remember where certain of my favorite books were shelved…which corner held The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
There were times as I got older that I would chose a book from the “adult” section and be treated to a raised librarian eyebrow. But I was still allowed to check it out.
Now I head for the newer books and after perusing them, I take a list and move along to the stacks. I have nice bookcases full of books (and a Kindle-load of books) but there is always…always something else I want to read. I make my list from books I’m presently reading, from articles I’ve read, from NPR stories on books…I may not want (or have the money) to buy a specific book. But I want to see it, read the first page, and decide for myself if I will take it out. Many times I’ve found a new author in the library and then go on to buy that author’s books that were still in print.
I’ve used the library (no matter where I’m living at the time) for research.
I’ve given libraries books for their book sales.
I’ve given talks (usually about a writers group) at libraries.
But the best thing about libraries is this: libraries welcome you for free. There is no charge for a card. There is no charge to travel the world, to time travel, to dream. You can be any nationality, any color, any religion and the library will welcome you, even if it’s just to read a newspaper or a magazine.
The library is the one place where we all are welcomed.
And for me it is the Happiest Place on Earth.