Libraries I Have Loved

Libraries have played a huge role in my reading life. I grew up going to our local library and as I left home, I found the local library where I was living at the time. All of these hold a special place in my heart!

DeSmet, SD

The Hazel L Meyer Memorial Library is the first library I loved. When I was a kid, mom took us there almost weekly. We would walk in the front door and the familiar smell of musty books would hit us. The circulation desk was to the right and the friendly lady there was always a welcome sight. I loved being able to sign my own name on the card and the gal would hand stamp it.

I was back there last week. Really, nothing had changed. Oh, sure, a few changes in decoration and they have built on a fairly large section for kids reading, but the main things are the same. The big, bulky cupboard that houses the Dewey Decimal System is still there. They still stamp cards by hand. My daughter got to sign her own name for the books she took. Not only that, but they still have old books in the library. Liz found Bells on Their Toes and my oldest sister Victoria’s name was on the card in her own writing. What a step back in time to go there.

But change is happening in the little town of DeSmet. The circulations desk lady told me they are in the process of changing over to a system that will use barcoads. I am guessing they will get rid of old books then, too, since they will be going through the entire library.

Other Libraries

I spent time teaching away from home and always ones of the first things I did was get a library card. West Point, Mississippi was the first out of state library I frequented. I loved the look of it.

Glasgow, Kentucky is another library that I visited while away teaching. I’m not sure I actually had a card here, but I did go in to research things. Isn’t it beautiful?

Grand Forks, North Dakota is another one that I use a lot! This is the one I went to when I was reading the Brotherband series by John Flanagan. I went up to the young adult section and was delighted that their were nine books in the series and I had only read the first one. It was during this same time that I borrowed The Ranger’s Apprentice series for Weston. These books were also by John Flanagan. He burned through all twelve books in a matter of months.

Huron, South Dakota is one I use a lot now. It is a pretty large library for the middle of SD. Since I have children now, I have learned more about libraries. They almost always have crafts for the children to either do there or take home and do at home. My girls think that is really cool! They also have books that read to you while you just turn the pages. They also think those are cool. Me? Not so much. Huron library also has a large room with books that are for sale. I try to just walk by that room but sometimes I give in and take a look around. I usually walk out with a book or two. More if the girls are with me.

I loved and used them all. Even now, if we are driving through a distant city and I see the library I ask to stop. Most times we cruise on by, but it gives me a thrill just to have seen the library.

Grafton, ND

Grafton, ND deserves it’s own special section. This library filled a very special place in my life. I still love stopping in here when I am back in the area.

After I was married, I needed something to fill some time with. I knew the library was looking for help and since it was just up the street from us, that seemed like a really good option. Working at a library was something that was on my list of things I would like to do. I stopped in and asked for the job and got it! If you are wanting to get to know a community, your local library is a great place to do that. You also get real insight into people by what they are reading. My opinion of some of my friends shifted a bit by the books they read. That is not said critically – the opinion shift was neither good nor bad – just different.

How does a library work? That was one thing I wondered about. How do they keep up to date on books and keep them all put away and neat? I learned it all.

I learned to shelve books. It certainly helps to know your alphabet and learn how the dewey decimal system works. That will save you a lot of time while re-shelving non-fiction books.

I learned to use the curculation system. It was just as easy as aiming and clicking.

I also learned who returns books on time and who doesn’t. Over due fines are one of the ways a library makes a little money. I no longer feel guilty about my over due books. I just cheerfully pay my fine and I’m glad to help my library out a little.

Most times if you are in the same county as your library, the card is free to check books out and use all of their other services. If you are out of county, there will be a fee. I have paid anywhere from 20-40 dollars for a library card. School teachers usually get a break on the charge and amount of time a book can be checked out.

I learned a library is supposed to get rid of 7% of its books each year. Old books that no one is reading anymore. That way they make room for all the new books coming out. Before I came there, the Grafton library had not been gone through for 13 years. The year I worked there, every spare second was spent sorting books. Almost all books that hadn’t been read in the last five years were sent to the back room. The exceptions were research books and a few other special books. The director estimated that we got rid of 25,000 books that year. My husband estimated that I brought home about 75% of those books. (I didn’t) The library looked empty after that.

Libraries have many services for the community. If you are looking for a place to research there are tables to use. Find your books and spread out. If you want to search online there are computers to use free of charge. We had regulars come in almost every day. A few of the them you could set your clocks by. They would sit down by the computers for an hour. When the hour was up, they would wander around the library for a bit and then leave. Some came in to visit. If you need something notarized, your local library may be able to help you with that. If you have any questions about almost anything, the curculation desk people will be able to help you out! The library is a great place to learn things about your town. You may even hear things you wish you hadn’t.

A library, to me, feels like a place that is slightly magical and where almost anything can happen. It was proved, too. My boss began missing things from her purse. Pills, mind you. Not any pills – hydrocodone. I had been suspicious that someone was riffling through my purse even before the director said anything. I began to leave my purse a certain way and sure enough, it would be moved later. Things would be rearranged. No one was ever caught. I never lost anything, but that did make it more interesting. Did we know who was doing it? Let’s just say I’m pretty sure I know who wasn’t doing it!!

Grafton’s library is an old Carnagie library. This is the oldest section and it was so fun to walk around in it and wonder who had first borrowed books and what kind of books they liked. It was a great experience working at a library and it is one I would do again if given the chance!

I highly recommend getting acquainted at your local library. It is a really neat way to get more involved in your community. Take your children there and let them learn to love the smell and feel of books in their hands. This will help turn them into lifelong learners.

What kind of experiences have you had at your public library? Tell us about it!

5 responses to “Libraries I Have Loved”

  1. My mom was a high school librarian after she graduated from high school. She had interesting stories to tell us children from that time in her life. Then she got married and moved across the country. She worked for a short time in the home town library there. As children, I was impressed how Mom knew how to help us find the books we needed or were interested in! Every summer we were signed up for the summer reading program contests. I remember reading many books, so I could claim my prize! One I checked out multiple times, as a young child, was The Sugar Mouse Cake. I’ve tried to get it to read to my children, but it’s not easy to come by… Janna


  2. We usually go to our small-town, local libraries. Once we tried out the one in a bigger town. It had a huge children’s section full of glossy modern-looking books. I was glad to go back to the little one where I could still find Lois Lenski and Hank the Cowdog books. This one also gives away used books as the prizes for the summer reading program. What could be better than that?!


  3. ok what to say about libraries except i just LOVE everything about them?
    -the little quiet sounds of pages turning , and peoples soft voices and the slap of the cover closing as the librarian stamps your book
    -why people are there: for some relaxation or research or other booksy reason;)
    -books and books EVERYWHERE
    -yes and book sales!! yay!
    -the chance of finding a “new” good kids book or adult one
    i know they are being modernized but i still love them!
    one favorite thing is going to a library when on vacation anywhere. they are usually kinda fascinating and relaxing all at the same time. last spring break we went to one in kansas city that was aMazing! a clear wall of pipes with bubbles going up, a long tri sided gel fireplace, etc.
    that’s enough but i’m thankful for them.

    Liked by 1 person

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