DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Aug 7 2013

Library Memories

by Joseph M

gus-loved-his-happy-homeGrowing up, I always liked visiting libraries. My first library memory is sitting with my mom in our local public library as she read to me. I was probably 4 or 5 years old. If I recall correctly, we were enjoying one of the Gus the Ghost books by Jane Thayer. I liked the illustrations so much that I begged my mom to photocopy some of the pages, which she did. The seating in the children’s area was unusual, sort of like large blocks covered in a plush material and stacked in arrangements that were good for climbing. I remember feeling like the library was a fun and exciting place to be.

I felt the same way about my elementary school library when I got a little older. My class would visit the library about once a week or so, and the school librarian would read to us from what seemed at the time to be a vast collection of children’s books. The librarian selected a lot of stories by Bill Peet, which was always an entertaining choice in my opinion. It was around this time that I was first introduced to the concept of nonfiction and shown how to work the card catalogs, which I found daunting yet intriguing.

A little later in my childhood, my mom was taking classes at a local university and so had access to the library there. I had been assigned a school project about American Indians and I needed to do some research, so my mother graciously took me with her to the campus library. This was by far the largest library I had ever seen, spanning multiple floors filled with row after row of bookshelves. I was highly impressed by the wealth of knowledge arrayed before my eyes, and I quickly found several books relevant to my project.

I credit the above experiences with inspiring my life-long fascination with libraries and helping to guide me into my current career. Do you have fond memories of your early library experiences? Please share them with us.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

George Ford August 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM

I remember going to the library when I was very young in Thomaston, Georgia back in the 50s. The library I remember was in the old high school building, a large building with high ceilings and large white columns at the front door. In my memory I see the shiny wooden floors with long strips of wood, warped a little with age, that popped sometimes when you walked across them. I believe there where ceiling fans and the library may have even had a screen door. I remember enjoying the place very much and looking at the picture books shelved in old wooden shelving units that where like boxes. Gives me a good feeling. 😉

Joyce B. August 8, 2013 at 1:48 PM

I remember my first public library oh so well… it was the Decatur Library (before the expansion). I recall coming in and seeing the massive (or what seemed massive) card catalogs. Okay, I don’t miss those cards – but I do miss the shelves/drawers(?) they came in. I also recall taking part in a piano recital in the basement. Interesting to be working in one’s childhood haunts.

Veronica W August 8, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Living in Harlem during my earliest years, my “local” library was New York Public on 42nd street. However at the time, that incredible edifice did not have a children’s department and the little people were directed to the Donnell Library, located on 53rd street. Home of the Winnie the Pooh collection, it was a six year old child’s delight. Unfortunately it closed in 2008.

When I was thirteen, I inherited a page position from my sister at the Teacher’s College Library of Columbia University and the quiet, almost reverential atmosphere set the standard for libraries in my heart forever. During my break I would curl up in a corner chair with a book and be at peace. Yes, in those days they said “Shhh.”

Hillary Denson August 12, 2013 at 4:01 PM

I can remember all of my many visits to the library as if it was yesterday. It was the Atlanta-Fulton Kirkwood Branch right next door to the Kirkwood Elementary School. I can remember having to walk to school with the walking school bus full of kids (a group of neighborhood kids that walked to school together) and walking all the way back home just to get on another one going to the library. I think about it now and say why couldn’t my mom just let me go straight to the library from school, but back then I was so excited to go to the library that it didn’t really matter. Everyone called me a bookworm and I guess I was because I really enjoyed books. Book It, Read to Succeed were my favorite activites for school. “The babysitter’s Club” was my all-time favorite. We even started our own “baby-sitters club” which although wasn’t called a bookclub now that I am older I see it was EXACTLY THAT! Because no one let us babysit their babies and we were not trying, we were trying to be the 1st one to read the latest book.

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