When I was younger, the library was a place full of magic. The endless rows of books held so many stories and tales and lives and characters that I couldn’t consume fast enough. The warm quiet of the building was a welcome respite from the chaos of a large family. I could wander through the stacks for hours, skimming titles and reading covers. I gathered books in my arms to check out while I perused, until I had so many that my muscles shook and books were tumbling off the pile.
I would check out five or six books at a time, piling them next to my bed. When I was younger, all I needed was a book and cozy nook to curl up for hours, lost in a whole new world.
I loved the smell of old library books. I loved the way the pages were a little yellow and the plastic cover crinkled when you opened it up. I loved the books with water-warped pages because I could imagine the reader sitting on the beach, not realizing how close the waves had crept up until they were upon her. I especially loved the books with a comment card paper-clipped to the back cover, where previous readers wrote their thoughts and noted their surprise or sadness or anguish over characters. I would sometimes choose a book based on these comments alone. I felt like I had a connection with the other anonymous readers – like we were, in some small way, the same, because we had both shared this book’s great adventure.
Then technology came and changed it all.