How I Love Libraries! by Cynthia Alaniz
Just before I wrote this post, I listened to the audio version of A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. I got so lost in this beautiful story that before I realized it, a significant amount of time had passed. I’d journeyed through a really great book– so well crafted (winner of the Newbery in 2002 in fact). As the last chapter ended, I took hold of the audiobook case and marveled at what I’d just “read.” “What a great experience I have just had!” I said to myself. “Thank goodness my library had that one!”
And there it was: my daily library appreciation moment.
I experience these moments of gratitude at least twice a day (sometimes more). It’s a moment where I’m thankful to have libraries in my life, where I realize their incalculable worth to me—–much like that moment when you’re glad you have your umbrella and the rain is coming down. Or, to make it even clearer, much like that moment when you are hungry and realize the pantry is stocked. You need something and then suddenly you realize you have it. And then your life is instantly better. That’s what libraries do for me.
Aren’t libraries remarkable places? Of course they are. Every member of the Nerdy Book Club is already extremely aware of that. But can we just take a minute and collectively reflect upon this?
Many of you have visited your libraries this summer. You’ve enjoyed the summer programs, the open space to read, and perhaps you’ve attended a festive themed event. You found that book you’ve been looking for, or the book you put on hold is finally ready for you!
There’s nothing like it!
I’ve always loved libraries. When I was little, my sisters and I pulled our red wagon several blocks to the public library on hot summer days. It was there that I discovered biographies, mysteries, and my first game of Candyland. I spent hours there—unhindered and constantly reading. I wandered everywhere in and out of the stacks—pulling out titles, planning to read them later. Choosing some and reading right there on the carpet in between the shelves. When it was time to go, my sisters and I would check out our books, fill our wagon, and return home. Most summer days, that was the best part of our day. In a home with little to no books and few opportunities for recreation, our public library came through (as they still do today for many other children).
My love for school libraries is just as strong. After summer was over, from August to May, my school library nurtured my growth as a reader, and kept the books coming. It was a place for me to BE! I was there before school, during any break, and after school as well. I found hope and comfort there. Later, as a teacher, I gravitated toward it, and taking my classes to the library was always a joy for me. The school librarians I have worked with have always been kind. They gracefully accepted my long wish lists for books to share with my class, engaged me in wonderful book talks, and offered every resource they had for my students. I walked unhindered among the stacks again, this time looking for books with my students.
So to me, opening the door to a library, seeing the books and displays, noting the librarians at the desk ready to answer my questions—well, all of these are truly wonderful sights. It will never ever become old to me. When I walk into my public library now, as an adult, I feel an indescribable sense of belonging. I greet the librarians at the circulation desk with the happiest of smiles. When I check out my books and gather them in my bag (no more red wagon), I acknowledge yet again, that now, as an adult with a home full of books, the library is still coming through for me.
Cynthia Alaniz begins her first elementary librarian job in Coppell, Texas this August having been a classroom teacher for over 20 years. She is a Teacher Consultant with the North Star of Texas Writing Project and was named her district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2009. She’s also a very proud member of the Nerdy Book Club. She is always in search of another book (and/or a new pair of shoes). You can find her on Twitter at @utalaniz and on her blog at http://librarianincuteshoes.blogspot.com/ .