When Books Call Your Name

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time at the Lisbon Falls Community Library.  They always had free bookmarks at the check-out desk; one summer, I got a bookmark that said “There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.”  I didn’t know it at the time, but those words are the first line from an Emily Dickinson poem.  I loved that bookmark because that was exactly how I felt about books even though I had to look up the meaning of the word “frigate.”

The library had a certain smell, like old books and pencil shavings.  The best libraries still smell that way.  It’s a smell that evoked magical feelings.  It meant a little piece of something unknown was going to be revealed in words.  Oh, how wonderful it was to be young and naïve about the world and all its information.

When I travel to new areas, I like to include libraries on my list of places to go.  Sometimes, small towns have wonderful old-fashioned libraries with lots of books, periodicals, and built-in window seats.  If they’re good, they smell like old books and pencil shavings.  The best thing about libraries, though, is that they’re free; no cover charge, and no 2 drink minimum.

The other day, I stopped into the Stockbridge, Massachusetts library.

The Stockbridge Library

Because libraries are peaceful and quiet, I have often overheard interesting conversations.  Yesterday in Stockbridge, a young father and his daughter were reading books in the children’s section of the library.  When they left, they chatted briefly with the librarian at the check-out desk.  I overheard the man say “Who invented libraries?  They are surely a wonderful thing.”

Hear ye, hear ye, libraries surely are a wonderful thing.

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2 Responses to When Books Call Your Name

  1. Jim Baumer says:

    I concur with your paean about books and libraries. Libraries are an oasis from many things in our very busy, over-stimulated 21st century lives. They call us back to the quiet places that all of us need (perhaps, now more than ever) to reflect, and even take a respite from our travels when we’re out and about, happy motoring.

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