Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Library by Julie Raftelis

I can remember getting my very first library card with my Mom as a young girl. 
We walked from our home on Newhall Street on a beautiful sunny morning. 
It was a quick jaunt down the hill and around the corner to the square.  The imposing stone covered building stood proudly amongst the town buildings.  The Children’s Room was located in the basement.  My mom took me to the desk and I was issued a paper library card.  I wish I still had it!  I remember feeling important and grown up when I was given that card. I do not remember the books I chose or the walk back home, but I do remember that building, my first library.

Libraries seem to be threads that are woven through the fabric of my learning as I grew up.  I remember the library cart in my first elementary school.  Mrs. Powers was the school librarian.  I looked forward to each library cart visit. Our school didn’t have a room.  It was a cart filled with lively, colorful picture books wheeled around by an equally lively and colorful Mrs. Powers.  She would always share a story with robust enthusiasm.  I do remember wanting to take home whatever book she read that day to share with my family.  Library time morphed over the years from a place to not only gather books to read for enjoyment but also to learn. I needed books to research countries and cultures from around the world.  I learned to use sources from high school libraries and then college libraries to learn about the craft of teaching.  Although the buildings changed and purpose may have matured, the library has a significant place in my life.

My hometown library is a modern building situated in the center of town.  It sits opposite our grand town hall.  This building is used for many town events and meetings. It is a quick walk from my home, too.  I started visiting this library when my oldest daughter Arianna was about 1 year old.  The Children’s Room held events like Curious Creatures, Paper Crafts, and Puzzle Day.  I would put Ari in her stroller and head down to the library in the morning to attend these fabulous activities. We would spend time together looking at board books, picture books, and playing with the different manipulatives strewn across the play area.  It is a memory I cherish!  With each addition to my family, the library remained a constant part of our activity plan.  As Ari grew, she would like to push her sister Thea in the stroller to the library.  When Nicholas came along, Thea would read the board books to him and hold his little hand as he tried to manipulate the shapes of the puzzle. They each got their first library card at this library.  The girls asked for purses to keep their cards safe.  Nicholas put his library card in his treasure box on his bureau. Now that my children are in middle and high school, the purpose of library has matured with them as well.  They not only use their library cards to check out books to read for pleasure but use the library as a resource as well.  Our library continues to be a vital piece of our family life!

Next week: A post from a guest blogger!


  1. When we lived in Canada, there were HUGE community centers which included a library, ice rink, swimming pool, gym, and even a fast food restaurant! So, visiting the library became an entire day. We could drop our oldest daughter to skating and take our younger daughter to the library:) Libraries are magical places.

    1. Books AND french fries in one spot?! That sounds great to this reader! Thank you for comment.

  2. My grandfather held the first library card issued at the Littleton Public Library (Littleton, NH) and there is a research room in his name there: the Kinne Genealogy Room. Growing up, this was one of my favorite places in the world. The children's section was up a wide curving staircase and I could get out a dozen books at a time when I visited. My grandfather was a custodial worker there in his retirement and wrote a book about the history of the area called "When My World Was Young." In it, there is a chapter called, "I went to school underwater" because the village where he grew up was flooded by the Moore Dam. My favorite book to get out of the Littleton Public Library was "Gnomes" by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet. --Elizabeth Malcolmson

  3. Thank you for your comment. I can picture that curving staircase leading up to a beautiful children's room. Growing up, the Cleary Square Branch (Hyde Park) of the Boston Public Library was one of my favorite places in the world and holds a special place in my heart. Thanks for your comment

  4. As I was thumbing through the November issue of Real Simple magazine last night I was pleased to see that ~libraries still exist~ was the number one reason why the world is still a wonderful place! Caitlin Moran captured the essence of libraries beautifully. I’d like to share some of Caitlin’s words with our blog readers.

    A place where you can go without a penny in your pocket and be given a room full of worlds. For each book is a doorway you can walk through into another land. There are a million people, from across the world and through time, who are sitting on those shelves, dying to tell their stories and become your friend. It is a place you will not be valued not for what you wear or how you look, but for how many words you have collected and stored in your head.