Libraries have been a focal point throughout my life. Some of my fondest childhood memories are centered around the DeKalb Public Library in DeKalb, Illinois. This wonderful library became my model for what a great library should be – how one should look, smell, feel, and how a person should feel when they are there.
My dad would take me, every other Saturday, until I was in high school. I would return the armful of books I’d checked out two weeks prior, he would disappear into the magazine room, and I would spend as much time as I needed to find another armful of books to take home.
I have a very patient father.
I had a system: I would walk every line of stacks in the children’s room, looking down the spines of just about every book, pulling some off to look at, and passing others by. In alphabetical order, of course! Sometimes I’d check out old favorites and sometimes I’d check out all brand new titles. It just depended on my mood.
My parents never discouraged me from reading anything. They left that up to me, and for that I will always be grateful. I think any child who is left alone to explore their own reading tastes learns to judge for themselves, and they find what they like and don’t like. And become better readers for it.
As I grew older, I had less time to visit the library, but I still would go. And as I got older and ventured into the Adult book area, my mother would join me and we would browse together. She introduced me to wonderful books like Rebecca, Lorna Doone, A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre. Agatha Christie was a favorite, too.
I went off to college, got married, had different jobs, and gave birth to my daughter. Then, one day, a part-time job opened up at the small library in my newly adopted town.
And the rest is history.