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My mom’s library card

October 28, 2015

Speaking of library cards and those who wield them, my mother’s card was well-worn. When I was a kid, I remember my mom having to put down her book, countless times I am sure, to tend to a skinned knee, a shelf that I could not reach, big news in the neighborhood (Buddy’s cat had kittens can we have one aw come on), or whatever my brother and I were getting into. Wherever she was, there was a book.

Trips to the library were frequent. I gave up on waiting for everybody else to finish choosing their books, and adopted a “take all prisoners” approach (an armful from the place I had left off) so I could just pile up on the bench with my stack of books and begin reading and waiting. Those were the days. History. Adventure. Biography (maybe my favorite). School books were boring in comparison, and endured rather than enjoyed. I even remember reading “The Ransom of Red Chief” with a whiff of suspicion, just because of its association with school.

I hope things are similar for kids of that age today, and from what I see as a volunteer in a public library, these are still the good old days. It gives me hope. Kids and their untested wings. Frazzled parents trying to check off all the “to do” list items. If one youngster gets five books and a dvd, EVERY youngster in the van gets the same, and mom or dad breathes a sigh of relief as the items are bagged up and distributed to the young patrons. Some young readers will not surrender the one item they want to read on the way home, so one reaches forward and scans the barcode while it is held aloft by the young sprout. Every transaction is different, and every visit to the library is alive with adventure and potential.

I may not agree with Ben Carson’s politics, but I am in total agreement with his mother (previous post). Library cards are tickets to the future. Not the first time this has been said, but I write this stuff down more as an exercise in getting it out of my head (so I can go on to something else) than I do as an attempt at originality. I like face-to-face interactions. I have done distance ed from both ends, chat and email reference, electronic resources, etc—with a happy patron always being the outcome of choice. But I will take a smiling face over an emoticon every day, and I look forward to more smiling faces. We shall see which way the winds blow.

Hope the winds are in your favor, mliswilltravel.

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