Is there anything better than curling up in a big chair in a library basement/reading room and just diving into a book? The library always seems to be one of those places where I feel safe. It’s like a sanctuary. It’s a space I can almost always count on not be quiet, and for that I am eternally grateful to the Librarian’s for always having the back of the readers.
But I’ve found as I work my way through my thirties, that the library offers me so much more than just a quiet space to read. Because I can get that a lot of places. The library offers me stability, a calm haven in the every changing storm that is our lives.
When I was 8, the very first time I went to a library without my parents, I was accompanied by my late cousin Andy. (He was only 9. Thank goodness I lived in a very safe neighborhood in Connecticut in 1994 and the library was down the block.) We had no idea what we were doing, or why. He said he wanted to see if they had the candy bowl out, and I was along for the ride. Andy was basically my brother I never had, and I would have followed him anywhere.
I remember everything about walking into the library that day like it was the first time. The smell, the stacks, the people, the light hum of the one computer in the building, the sound of the wheels on the book cart as the books were being reshelved. I remember thinking that this place bought me joy. (Take that KonMariers and your 30 book rule.)
Fast forward to 2019. In the last 25 years, everything has changed. We have tiny super computers we carry in our pockets, and are glued to all day. Almost no legitimate human interaction anymore. We have everything available at the click of a button. Music, movies, books, pizza, a taxi. You name it. We officially live in a world of instant and near instant gratification. If we can’t get it in an instant, we can get it in two days with Prime. And if we can’t get it in two days, we think we don’t even need it.
I love nothing more than the amazing feeling of the library calling me to tell me my holds are in. Or even the email telling me my ebook holds are now available. I still walk through the stacks at least once a week, and breath deep breathes, and just exist, for the sake of knowing that while everything is changing, I can always count on the library to ground me.
I find myself longing for 1994. Before the apps and the digital era was peaking, when we were forced to have meaningful human interaction. I find myself wishing that we could go back. Meeting someone in the library, when you both grab for the same single copy of a book, and knowing that this person could be amazing because of your such similar tastes, is magical.
I also find myself wishing someone will develop an app for the bookish community, to find friends based on tastes. But for now I am happy I have twitter.
Do yourself a favor, if you haven’t in a while. Go to the library. Walk around. Introduce yourself to someone by your favorite genre, or book, or even someone wearing a cool shirt. You can pretty much always trust the bookish girl.