Friday, January 12, 2018

Rediscovering My Local Library

When my daughter was young, we spent long hours in our local library paging the picture books, collecting tall piles to carry home, our library visit a weekly highlight throughout her earliest years.

Primary school brought a change, a limitation to the long leisurely library days, but we still borrowed books on a regular basis. Later, as my daughter began swim team and dance classes, I branched out from my local library and sought the nearest location available while I waited. I wrote much of The Thirty-Ninth Victim in public libraries in Burien, Queen Anne and Green Lake.

I live in an area privileged with two superb library systems: Seattle Public Library and King County Library. Still, I lost my library habit as my daughter became a teenager. When renovations closed my neighborhood branch for a year and a half, I began shopping used bookstores and buying titles on Amazon to support writer/friends. I bought rather than borrowed until our bookshelves overflowed.

Recently an NPR review of a new title intrigued my husband, but he didn’t want to pay full price for a hefty hardcover. He also didn't want to bring more books into the house until the two large bags in the trunk of the car have been donated. So, we took a walk to our local library. 

It’s a beautiful red brick building with antique light fixtures and heavy wood furniture. The library website states: "The library, which opened in 1910, is a Carnegie-funded branch designed by W. Marbury Somervell and Joseph S. Coté. It is listed on The National Register of Historic Places."
At the library, my husband and I both needed to reactivate our accounts due to inactivity. Then, as he wandered the stacks, I created a long list of holds I want to read. It felt a bit like making a wish list for Santa. How had I forgotten this amazing treasure? 

Now I sit with three books on the desk beside me. Sometimes the Wolf by local author, Urban Waite. Lab Girl, a memoir by Hope Jahren recommended by a friend. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, the Seattle Reads title for 2018. It’s a constantly changing collection always at hand to distract me from shopping, cooking, writing, teaching, cleaning, laundry, exercise. 

So many wonderful library books to fill the dark days of winter. What are you reading? What do you recommend I add to my list? Have you visited your local library lately?


PollyZ said...

Exactly! Murmuring in my ear, from the stick on the floor next to my desk. Saying, hurry up with that other stuff, open me, now!

Thanks for reminding me-we also have a Carnegie Library in our neighborhood, and it charms everyone who walks in. I am there 2-3 days a week, know the staff by site, and drop off and pick up books like a madwoman.


Pamela said...

Inspiring. We are lucky. I'm reading Fire and Stone by Priscilla Long.

arleen said...

Thanks to both of you for reading my post!
What's in your stack, PollyZ? And what are you reading now?
Fire and Stone is on my hold list, Pamela!

I've just added a few more to my holds from this list as well:

Happy Reading!

PollyZ said...

Hi Arleen-I just finished "To Love The Coming End" by Leanne Dunic, Chin Music Press. Almost poetry, almost prose lyric, somewhere in the middle but ever so compelling reflections on changes in love, life, and the earth, particularly Asia and Japan after Fukishima. And after that quiet but powerful moment, I have just finished "The Rooster Bar," by John Grisham, and am on to a Dave Robicheaux story by James Lee Burke. Burke fills the page and your head with everything about his characters, and you dive in, happily, to watch the story unfold. Usually with wonderful suprises. My neighborhood book group just read "Revolutionary Road," by Richard Yates, considered to be a game-changer in the 60s; telling signs of our culture, ready for a different way of thinking and looking at the world and ourselves. These rainy and "inside" days do make it easier to keep up with the reading list. Hopefully on to "To Set A Watchman" next week. Onward! Polly

arleen said...

Beautiful descriptions of an interesting list, Polly. Thanks for sharing! Titles to add to my hold list at the library.

Unknown said...

I am reading the Journals of William Fraser Tolmie, Physician and Fur Trader from the early days of Washington Territory. I'm finding wonderful resources at the state library for a historical novel I'm writing/ I love libraries and have given author talks in twenty or so here and in Alaska and Hawai'i. Thanks for the wonderful piece on libraries. I believe that National and State Parks along with Public Libraries are the high water mark of American civilization.

arleen said...

Yes, "the high water mark of American civilization" indeed, Russell. Very well put!