The first books I ever checked out of a library were from my elementary school in Beirut, Lebanon. I can still feel the cold tile floor I was sitting on cross-legged and eye level with the young reader books. We always had books at home, but this was a new supply every week! All I had to do was sign my name on a card and promise to return the books the following week undamaged. My love of libraries started at a tender age and has grown exponentially.
In high school, I escaped the hassles of lunch periods and retreated to the library where I lost myself in the chapters of books. The library had heavy wall to wall bookshelves and a large ticking clock which reminded me of my limited time, forcing me out of those comfy leather chairs and out of that cavernous room full of unturned pages, yet unseen adventures, and new characters I was anxious to befriend.
In college, my favorite reading nook was not in the general campus library, which attracted noisy study groups and boisterous meetings, but was in the stately old Armstrong Browning part Library part Museum that smelled of dust and lemon polish. It innately invited stillness and quiet with its ornate stained-glass windows, velvet upholstered cubby window seats, massive ancient oak library tables, and intricately mosaiced marbled floors that announced the clickety-clack entrance and departure of each student. It was a peaceful escape from the cacophony of college life and an open invitation to read, just read.
Each town I’ve moved to at each new season of my life, I’ve headed straight to the local library within the first week to get my coveted library card, because the thought of not having a book to read and a back-up as well is enough to put me in a panic.
I’m grateful to libraries. They’ve given me countless hours of enlightening theater and grounded emotional support. My love of losing myself in a story has built in me the foundation for learning compassion, for appreciating other eras and cultures, and for dreaming of what possibilities the world held for me. The people I got to know in books inspired me. They kept at life despite the odds. Therefore, I could too!
Someone asked me what my top ten favorite books were. Can you name yours?
The discerning person acquires knowledge, and the wise person seeks knowledge.