Monday, April 12, 2010

So Many Books ...

(That's me at 21 months)

So many books, so little time.

I saw someone with that slogan emblazoned on their sweatshirt several years ago. It could be my theme song.

Yesterday, Randy & I went to Hutchinson for a date night. But no trip to Hutch is complete without a stop at the Hutchinson Public Library.

You know the old TV show, Cheers? In the theme song, Cheers is a place "where everybody knows your name." I don't have any bars that fit that description, but the Hutch library ladies definitely know my name. I always have books "on hold" at the library.

If I were independently wealthy, I might buy my favorite authors' books the minute they are published. But, alas, since I am not, I am a frequent flier at my library. I put the latest bestsellers and my favorite authors' books "on hold" and wait for my turn at the library.

Is it bad if you know your library card number by heart? Since I put so many books on hold, I can type my library number without even thinking about it.

These days, I'm not usually at the library on Sundays. But back in 1979 and 1980, I was there almost every Sunday afternoon. I was a reporter at The Hutchinson News back then, and I lived by myself in a one-bedroom apartment on 7th Street, just a couple blocks south of the library at 9th and Main.

Sundays were my loneliest day of the week. I missed going to church with my family and having Sunday dinner. During nice weather, I'd walk to First United Methodist Church on 1st Street in the mornings. Even though I got involved with a Sunday School class, sang in the choir and became part of the church family, Sunday afternoon stretched out in front of me. So, Sunday afternoons, I'd head off to the library.

I guess it almost seemed like my home away from home.

I escaped to the land of books. I can never remember a time when I wasn't a library patron. My mom took us to the library from the time we could toddle in on our own steam. My earliest memories include the library in the Pratt County Courthouse.

(me and Lisa in November 1959. Lisa always says I taught her to read. She was a year behind me in school, but she sat right beside me as I learned to read. By the time she was in first grade, she was an old pro.)

But it was a big deal when the new library was built in Pratt. There was a whole room of children's books. It's where I discovered Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. I still love mysteries and thrillers today, and I have to believe those days of uncovering mysteries with them and with Trixie Belden and the Boxcar Children had to have laid an early groundwork for this love affair that's lasted all of my 52 years.

Until today, I didn't realize that this is National Library Week. The theme for the week, April 11-17, is "Communities thrive @ your library."

That is definitely true for me. But I also think there could be a parallel theme: "FAMILIES thrive @ the library." One of my favorite childhood memories was my mom reading us the "Little House on the Prairie" books. One by one, she checked them out of the Pratt library and read us the whole series with all of us crowded together on the living room couch. Later, I read them again for myself.

(Darci, me and Lisa: I have no idea why Lisa and I are in our robes outside)

I carried on the reading and library tradition with Jill & Brent. Randy & I read to them long before they could actually comprehend the words. We visited both the Stafford and Hutchinson libraries and carted home armfuls of books.

Both of them still love reading today.

This weekend, I played with a Kindle. It belongs to my sister, Darci. I must admit it's a pretty handy device for someone like her. She travels all over the country and the world. Traipsing through an airport with a carry-on bag stuffed with seven books would be a bit ridiculous. In contrast, the Kindle is about one-third of an inch thick and weighs 10.2 ounces. And yet it can hold up to 1,500 books.

It was a fun toy. But I just don't think it would feel the same as curling up in bed at the end of a long day with my book in hand. Some day, in this technology-crazed world, I may not have a choice.

But for now, give me the bulk of a book in my hands, turning the pages as the adventure unfolds.


  1. I like the kindles, too-- in their place. I love books- the pages, the smell--just everything!

  2. The whole robe thing over our regular clothes is a mystery - especially since we didn't usually wear robes. Must have been recent gifts.

  3. M
    y library card says I have over due books ?

  4. I didn't remember that your apartment was close to the library. I DO remember that I was in awe of the fact that you lived in an apartment. I actually KNEW someone who lived in an apartment. Not just seeing an apartment on TV. Not too many apartment buildings in Stafford!!

  5. Dear Anonymous: If you would have taken my library card, the overdue fee wouldn't be on yours.

  6. I agree with the joy of holding a book and smelling the paper.