For any book lover, the library is an absolutely magical place. Rows and rows of books are waiting to be discovered, all yours to borrow for free. The smell of the library is beyond description, and reaches across the boundaries of location, time, and branch. Not only does your local library offer the books you’ve been longing to read, but it also provides the community with events, groups, and amenities like internet access and copy machines because who the fuck has a copier in their house.
I love the library. I love the public library near my house, and I loved the library at every school I attended. In college, I would study there instead of going back to my house. Any time I had between classes was spent in my favorite corner desk on the third floor.
One of the reasons I love the library so much is for practicality. Just like most book lovers on the planet, I love going and buying new books. Also like many readers, I’m a completely hopeless book hoarder. I’m cataloging my library right now, and after 2.5 shelves of one book case I’m up to 83 books. I still have 3 shelves of that book case, another book case, and several piles around my house to go through. I can’t even imagine how much I’ve spent, even though most of them are second hand. I can’t spend more money on books, and I have absolutely no where to put them. So, as much as I love owning my favorite novels, I go to the library instead. It’s a free hobby, I’m supporting my favorite place in the world, and I’m not feeding my book addiction.
Now let’s talk about the smell of the library. Since I was a little girl, I’ve had this strange obsession with the way books smell. Different papers, prints, and bindings all have their own unique scent. I love the crisp and colorful smell of graphic novels. I still remember the way our test booklets and blue books smelled in high school and college. As you can imagine, I have been relentlessly made fun of for flipping through a new book to give it a whiff. When I was in college, I worked at Borders and I smelled books all day while my coworkers shot me weird looks. Libraries are filled with delicious book smells. The first thing I do when I walk into the library is stop and take a huge, full lunged smell. It’s something that connects me to my childhood, a comforting smell I can’t get enough of.
That brings me to my last point. Libraries remind me of childhood. When I was a little girl, my mom worked until 6-7ish at night, so my grandma would come pick me up from school. We would always go to the library after school so I could pick out a new book to read before we went back to her house. I was also a frequent participant of Book It, which was a Pizza Hut program. They’d give you a little card and once you’d read four or five books or whatever you got a free little pizzas. I had so many fucking little pizzas from Pizza Hut. It was awesome.
I would take my library books home and absolutely devour them. I read whole books in a night. I reread what little books I had over and over again. My love of reading starts there, with piles of library books tucked in next to me on my little, pink sheeted bed.
So, I support my local library. They are so important for everyone in the community. I can’t imagine where I’d be if my grandma didn’t take me to the library everyday. Maybe a kid just like me needs the library just as much as I do. Maybe the key to fostering a love of books rests on those shelves, heavy with stories and imagination.
Tetra likes books too: