I adore libraries. I remember getting my very first paper library card–I must have been only 5 or 6. I felt so grown up as I signed the bottom of the little piece of paper with my autograph. The responsibility of not only choosing a book but then checking it in and out made me feel quite independent and responsible.
Now, instead of feeling more grown up, a library visit helps me to revisit my childhood. It takes me back to a simpler time full of quiet wonder and innocence. I have recently made library trips a more regular part of my life and aim to visit once a week. My local library in East Nashville’s Five Points area is small and charming. It is the fourth of the original Carnegie libraries, built in 1919. I think the marble floors, sparkling chandeliers, and overall atmosphere bring an air of sophistication to the book reading and searching process. I feel very fortunate to have this historic landmark just down the street.
I choose to visit the library agenda-free. I bring only my library card and an open mind. I prefer to peruse the shelves aimlessly. I look for striking titles, beautiful cover art, or raving reviews on the back. Sometimes the books I choose are flops, but more often I stumble across novels and non-fiction works alike that I never would have encountered if not by chance! Recently I picked up a copy of an adult fairytale called, “The Bear and The Nightingale” by Katherine Arden. I am enjoying it thoroughly. I’m glad I just happened to stand in front of the random bookshelf where it was housed. There is something MAGICAL about finding just the right book quite by accident.
During my last library trip, I also received a suggestion for my next read! When I approached the desk to check out my loot, the librarian looked up from her own reading and raved about the text in front of her (always a good sign when your librarian is just as addicted to reading as you are). The book is called, “The Power” by Naomi Alderman. I was sure to login to my online library portal to get on the waitlist and request this text. Libraries treasure so much of the past while embracing the conveniences of technology. The fact that I can renew books online, download audio books and reserve books in advance is so empowering to me as a reader!
If you haven’t explored the resources of your local library recently, I URGE you too! It is truly helping me to make reading a more consistent habit. As I have been writing a non-fiction book and a fiction short story, I find the more I actively read, the more creative ideas I am able to spark leaving me feeling more successful and productive as a writer. Happy reading!