I adored my librarians growing up. I loved and admired them to the point where I considered becoming a librarian myself. I was still considering it as an option when I visited college campuses to see where I wanted to go for undergraduate studies. I ultimately got distracted by the lure of exciting literature classes offered by the university I eventually chose.
As a child, I remember running around the Jacksonville, FL Main Library. The rooms had humongous windows and let in so much light, making the library seem that much more open and large. If I’m remembering correctly, for some period of time, there was also a dinosaur skeleton (which I believe was a replica) exhibit to attract young curious minds to the natural history side of the children’s area.
I could be mis-remembering, and the skeleton resided in some other location. If you happen to remember if the Jacksonville, FL Main Library had a dinosaur skeleton, please let me know if my memory is correct.
And although I do not remember a specific librarian from the time I was in Florida (until age 6), I know that I was always met with smiles. When we moved to Utah, my parents took us to the thrift store for books more often than anywhere else.
But then we moved to Georgia (age 8), and I fell in love with our library. Our local library had taken over a building that used to belong to the Juvenile Court, so it was a squat and sturdy brick building. There were no huge windows, but it was a quiet and cozy library.
And they had a library cat. It mostly stayed in the office area, but occasionally, it would escape to the main portion of the library and I could pet it.
Ms. Kaye was the head librarian. She was a tiny woman, but she seemed like she knew everything. When people mention the term “good witch,” she often comes to mind, with her cat, a love of books, and endless knowledge and patience.
Ms. Joan was another one of the librarians, and she was a tall and slender lady who had magic hands. Part of her job was to repair the books. She taped and glued and rebound the broken books and made them readable again.
And when I entered middle school (age 11-13), I encountered yet another wonderful librarian. Ms. Kinickey was the school librarian (also known as a media specialist). My parents and I had made an agreement that I could only check out two books at a time from the school library since I also borrowed a bunch from the public library. So I would see Ms. Kinickey every few days.
And in 8th grade (age 13), my homeroom and science teacher, Mrs. Agate, wrote a permanent pass in my school agenda (it doubled as the hall pass). She got tired of me asking to go to the library every other morning, so she just wrote that I was allowed to visit the library in the mornings prior to class starting. She also did the same for one of my best friends who often went to the library with me.
Our middle school library had a wide range of genres thanks to Ms. Kinickey’s and past librarian’s efforts. I first encountered Jane Yolen, Tamora Pierce, and Susan Fletcher at the middle school library. These authors solidified my love of dragons and heroines who could save themselves.
When I entered high school, I found that our school library was much more curated for research purposes. However, I also started to volunteer for the public library when I was in high school. Eventually, I was offered a job as the Library Page (such a cute job title!).
I worked on the children’s side of the library, for Ms. Debbie, the children’s librarian. I loved putting the books in their proper places, I had so much fun recommending books to others, and I even got to help put on the puppet shows for the summer reading program.
I loved the librarians who worked at the school I taught in. I appreciated and was grateful for every interaction I had with the librarians in the community around my first teaching job, and I continue to be thankful for every librarian I come across.
I love the library itself and what it stands for. The idea that you can freely come and borrow books to entertain and educate yourself is fantastic. And as someone from a family who couldn’t always afford the rising price of books, I was eternally grateful to read the new books available in the library.
Next time you visit your local library, be sure to thank your favorite librarians and tell them how much they mean to you.
Research Rabbit Holes: Vampires, Zombies, and Jiangshi will be live on 6/20/2020 at 10 AM EST.