I Guess I’m Home

I have had a library card for as long as I can remember. I can still picture the library in the city I grew up in; it was a big old brick building in park in the middle of the city.

I found it comforting to be in the library in the winter when the frigid wind blew snow into drifts outside.The blanket of quietness inside the library warmed me from my earliest memory.

On summer days when it was too hot to play outside, the peace of the library was a cool haven away from the summer heat, filled with books that could take me places I could only imagine.

Sometimes, the library came to me in the form of a bookmobile that parked just down the street from where we lived. I always visited the bookmobile and stocked up on a fresh stack of books that I could lose myself in for a few hours.

I started taking my children to the library when they were infants; they grew up going to the library. Whenever I wanted to learn about something new, I went to the library. I learned to quilt by reading library books; I learned about my Mennonite heritage by reading library books; I learned how to take care of cats by reading library books; I learned what it meant to have faith by reading library books.

When we moved to the Pacific Northwest three years ago I stopped going to the library. Every time we drove past I would say “Oh, I have to sign up for a library card” but I never fot around to it.

Until today.

Something prompted me to turn into the parking lot of the library this afternoon, to walk through the tree lined courtyard, to open the glass doors, and to go inside. I walked up to the counter, told the lady I wanted to sign up for a library card, filled out a sheet of paper, showed her my ID, and just like that I held in my hand a brand new library card.

Card in hand, I walked through the library getting a feel for where everything was. The familiar Dewey Decimal numbers posted on the ends of the shelves directed me to the sections I once spent so much time in. My body remembered the library-posture of tilting my head to the right to read the titles on the spines of the books. My mind recalled the hours I spent in a library browsing, reading, forgetting everything else except the books.

I checked out three books from section 305 (They have self-checkout now!) and as I left the library with my books in my arms, my walk seemed a little bouncier, and I seemed to breathe a little easier.

Having obtained a library card I guess I am officially planted here for now.

I guess I’m home.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. What a marvelous world is the library! Just the thought of one summons nostalgic remembrances, including the smell of wood shelving and parchment. Borders and Barnes & Noble haven't been around long enough to have the same ambience!

    I'm thinking I'm gonna need one of those Library Cards myself. They're indespensible to those of us with an affinity for words.


  2. My very best memories of childhood are of trips to the library, and the treasures that I found there. I think many of us drifted away from it for awhile, lured by the siren of the sparkling new mega bookstores. I'm so glad that common sense won out over the piles of new books that were threatening to overtake my house, and the thought of all the trees that had been felled in the process. I love being "back home" at the library!

  3. Awww, love that post! You know you should submit that to the local newspaper. I love it!

  4. Kathleen – While it's true that I can lose myself in B&N and Borders, it's just not the same as the library, is it?
    Becky – You might have something there, about the lure of the bookstores. We always seem to be look for new newest and best thing, forgetting that the tried and true things (like the library) are so much better.
    Karen – Thank you! You inspired me and I just might polish it up and submit it! Thank you!

  5. "My body remembered the library-posture of tilting my head to the right to read the titles on the spines of the books." Wow. Such a beautiful, unique observation!

    I'm wondering if people have become library enthusiasts or avid readers after seeking shelter there from heat or cold.

    And you look so cute and happy in that aisle with your arms full of books!

  6. Oh! next time you are there, see if my books are there *laughing* – okay, you don't have to do that, but! my dream is to have my book(s) in every library! . . . like you, libraries were my sanctuary and I remember the book mobile! We could buy books for just a few coins – heaven heaven.

    And, also like you, I didn't go into a library for quite a long time, until about a year ago–then, there I was – I sought out my book -it was there on the shelf! I can't explain the joy I felt. Then I sat a while and worked, and inhaled the smell of those wonderful old and new books …

    thank you for the memory!

  7. Welcome home! And isn't it such a lovely gift that home is a place full of stories and adventure and that smell, oh the smell.

  8. There's not too much better than the smell, look, familiar hug of the neighborhood "liberry."

  9. Kat – Now you KNOW I am going to look for your books the next time I'm there!
    Deb – 'Tis a gift, indeed.
    Angie – I like that – familiar hug – that sums it up!
    Loveable – I'm not near as cute as that picture…honest! 🙂

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