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?