One of the joys of living in town is that we can belong to the library now. I took Z-boy a couple of weeks ago, which was my first time in this library.
I went back today... by myself. I had the luxury of wandering around without a young child yanking at my arm. I had his reading list with me, so I picked up about 8 books for him, then, official business done, explored.
There is something about a library... it's quiet, but it's a living, breathing thing. Even if you couldn't see, you would know that the place is full of people, all quietly turning pages or slipping books off the shelf and back again as they ponder the possibilities. The thoughts are nearly visible as you walk around.
When I was very young - maybe 9 or 10 to around 12 or 13, my family used to "kid-swap" with some friends in Atlanta who had two kids near my and my brother John's age. For two weeks, David would come be a part of my family while I went to Atlanta to be "sisters" with Susan. There were various incarnations of this swap: Susan and me here; John and David there; John and David here; Susan and me there. I loved going to Atlanta though. Her mom worked in the reference stacks at Emory University and sometimes she took us along. It was very quiet, very dark - and had the peculiar smell of books and dust and metal shelving. One of the most beautiful smells in the world. I adored going to the stacks. You had the feeling that you could truly disappear into them and never come out... that years later they would find your mummy propped up in the corner holding a book.
Today's libraries are light and airy. There doesn't seem to be any dust. And people go there. It's a totally different feel from the dusty stacks of Emory, but they are STILL the portals to adventure and doors for your imagination to other worlds.