They are tearing down the library to make a larger one, one more spick and span, with shiner selves I suppose. I rather liked the old metal book racks and sun-beaten, semi-Spanish architecture. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say; it’s nostalgia that mists my view. But the old is giving way and the library is rather heavy with too much knowledge, so they decided it was time to grow.
I could trace my childhood across those shelves. Here is the children’s room where I went to story time, where I learned to delight in a well told tale. Here are the picture books and the beginning novels. Here are the Ingalls girls and the March sisters, the boy who never grew up and the Penderwick sisters, and those Shakespeare picture books no one quite understood why a third grader read. There was the short-lived year in the young adult section and the realization that there was more to be found beyond their narrow shelves. It was then I discovered Jane Eyre, all the rest of the classics, and realized that literature is something more and nothing less than a good story.
I’m moving away, so I suppose I shouldn’t mind that they’re tearing down the library to make a larger one, one more spick and span, one with shiner shelves. Still to be 2,000 miles away and know that the library that I went hand and hand with Mom to (and sometimes with Dad, and then by myself), is no longer there makes me smile a sad little smile. I could trace my whole life through those bookshelves.
But the library is getting too heavy and too full. It needs to be torn down and built up again so it might hold more. So another little girl might walk hand in hand with her mom into story time and stumble across Narnia and Shakespeare.
And me? – I’ll find new libraries.