Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Library Journey

Library’s have been my safe haven for a long time.  My earliest memories of library’s are from Neatherlands.  Every Sunday after church the whole family would go to the Library because of me.  My mom would try to get my brothers to read, but all I can remember them doing is horsing around the Library enough to get my mom upset resulting in leaving early.  This was pre kindergarten through 1st grade.

My mom had to put a limit on how many books I could check out each week.  I think it was a limit of 20 or something like that.  I constantly fought with her about this limit and always tried to sneak more books into the stack. 

When we moved to Germany and were living on the Patrick Henry Village base (PHV), I was involved in every Library program available to me.  My summers were spent riding my bike to the Library with a back pack full of books, crafts, and journals.  The activities the Library did were wide in range, from volksmarches, popcorn movie days, writing workshops, to crafty projects referencing our favorite books.  I was fortunate to live close enough to ride my bike.  I would have never made it to all those activities if I had to rely on my parents.
This is a post card from the 80's when my family was stationed at PHV.

I just found this picture by a Google search, thats the building all right.  I spent many days there.
At one point all the kids at Patrick Henry Elementary School were involved in a contest.  Whichever class read the most pages got to be the first to see the new movie The Little Mermaid in theater.  Yup our class walked proudly to the theater as the winners.  As I recall I think my teacher contacted my folks to make sure the number of pages I was reporting were accurate.

Fast forward in time and back to state side, I found myself eating Dairy Queen Sundays every day of the week with my dad for FREE!  It was the summer reading program.  You read 10 books, had your parent or librarian sign off and you get a free Sunday.  That program didn’t have the foresight for kids like me.  I didn’t even change my reading habits to get us free ice cream, it was just a bonus that someone was going to reward me.  Dad had no arguments, especially since it was the same year they were putting the sundays in plastic base ball caps.
I had a couple stacks of these hat, and every stuffed animal wore one.

At this time we didn’t live close to a public library, most my books came from the school library.  I made friends with all the Librans in Middle School.  I would be in the Library instead of the cafeteria eating lunch.  Some of the librarians would get a little worried about me and bring me food.  I must have read close to the whole fiction section of that Library.  Oh how I envy my twelve year old self, all that time to do nothing but read.

In high school things changed a bit.  I had friends, but they were always surprised to find out my free time or my nap time was spent in the Library.  I was the kid the head Librarian would ask to read a book and give her a report because she didn’t have time.  This is the time period where art started to take precedent over reading, but for awhile there footbag took precedent over all of it.  I never made it to art club because I was president of the hack club. 

I did murals in the library, I designed the reading rock shirts, and the Dr. Sues read in day posters.  There was one illustration I did for a t-shirt that included a book of my choice.  I choose Huck Fin since it was one of my favorites at the time.  When the shirts came back from the printer, to my horror, the name had been changed to The Great Gatsby.  Not that I disliked the book, but I was required to read that book in almost every school I attended, even college.  I had a disgruntle relationship with the book and there it was, on my artwork. (I have the original design somewhere but could not find it in my digging around)

I know these are not great pics.  I really had to dig for these in my old school books.
This mural was later painted over due to copy-write issues.  Oh what I didn't know, but it was requested by the Librarian.

At that point I was asked to do more art projects than reading projects, but I still had my comfy chair in the library.  I would doze off in that chair after school until it was time for me to walk to Dairy Queen for my closing shift.  I would hear the librarian scold and kick kids out for sleeping, but I was always left undisturbed.
I was a library junkie.  In college it didn’t change much except that I made the library start paying me by working at the counter.  I actually thought I would go into library science, but as fate would have it, art took over, that and the fact I didn’t want to go into debt for my career.  I worked up to three jobs at a time while going to college, and took on commissions.  So alas I left the library for the art store where I started a whole new journey. 

Do I go to the Library now?  No.  Every now and then when I need to pick up a book I found on their website that they don’t have an electronic copy, I’ll go to the library.  It’s a very sad development that I haven’t really thought of.  I don’t miss library’s because I have my own comfy chair to read and fall asleep in.   I just hope libraries are still around when my kids need a place to hide from the world like I did.

This post was inspired by EtsyBloggers Team Carnival Question:   1) what fond memories do you have of your public library and reading? 


  1. I was surprised to see that mural on the ceiling! Did you do that!? I also used the library much more as a kid - now I get my books through Amazon and through an automated system with the library online. But I'm active in the Friends of the Library and other activities, so I'm at the library for meetings now! Thanks for participating in the Carnival and adding your link on SimplyLinked. {:-D

  2. Yes, this was one of the three murals I did in that Library. It was a request of the Librarian.

  3. What an interesting post and what great memories you have! wonderful mural! (I remember those hats with sundaes.)
    There were never any extra programs at the library when I was growing up. But I loved the library for all those great stories--shelves and shelves. I would walk there.