“I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” Ray Bradbury

Soaking up words in close quarters.
Soaking up words in close quarters.

After a month of turmoil, unemployment, sick animals, writing dead-ends and slugs on the potato plants, I’m itching to spend a glorious day out of the heat at the public library to peruse files of long forgotten people, steal their spirits and bring them home with that satisfied feeling that I’ve learned something. Even as the world goes mad and evil takes strong footholds, something in us  produces books and free libraries.

How about you? What’s your fondest memory of a public library?

Smiles and Books
Smiles and Books

“People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.” Saul Bellow

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51788/62-worlds-most-beautiful-libraries

28 thoughts on ““I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” Ray Bradbury

  1. Lovely post 🙂 We didn’t have much money growing up, and my favourite memory is of my mum taking us to the public library after school and spending hours just reading with me and my sister.

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  2. Mostly olfactory. The uniquely comforting scent of a well-lent hardback clad in plain leatherette.Coal fire smoke exuding from Victorian daybooks not opened in 150 years. Municipal floor polish. Two more not scent related. At the age of ten the cramp in my arm as I attempted to carry home the full adult allowance of six books by special permission of the librarian when children under 12 were ordinarily allowed just three. Discovering the 1950s space adventures of Kemlo the Starboy still shelved there waiting just for me.
    Slugs on the potatoes? Head torch and plastic gloves at around midnight

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  3. Everyone thinks smart phones and iPads are causing kids to ignore each other, in favor of communicating via social media. This picture says that’s been happening a long time–in this case, we should blame reading. I saw a similar picture of morning business commuters on a subway, every head buried in the newspaper.

    I’d like to save that picture for my classes. Is it public domain? Thanks, Adrienne.

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  4. Well done. Every so often I read a post that just stops me in my tracks and I find myself staring into space. It would have to be childhood memories. The fortnightly trip to the library on the bus. The smell of the books, choosing the ones that we wanted and then bringing home our treasures. Thanks for returning that memory, I think that I had lost it for a while,

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    • I passed that love of libraries on to my children–along with the annoying habit of having huge library fines 🙂 We once forgot to return 30 books before going on a month’s vacation in Ireland!

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    • I don’t believe in progress 🙂 I think there are people like you and me all over the world who will always appreciate the tangible. Fully digital libraries would be horrifying to me. Just think, if there’s ever a massive power outage hardcover books will come back into fashion 🙂

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      • Yes indeed. I just had a convo with my hubby about children’s picture books being digitalized. He so sees this as the future and believes that future generations will process information so different from today. Imagine not being able to feel a book cover, pages 😭😭😭

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  5. I loved the public library when I was growing up. It was upstairs, above city hall. It was a musty old building, with creaky wooden floors, and the smell. . . oh, the smell!! I can almost still smell that room full of old books!

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    • Me too! I also always remember the sheer white curtains in our tiny town library and how the early autumn afternoon sun came softly through the windows and the quiet hum of the librarian speaking at the front desk.

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      • They had typical kid taste back then. One was an avid reader and still is…. he loves research. They both speak very highly of there experience and both have done well with higher studies. Our goal was for them to see education as a life long thing and that has been a success. Interestingly is has been a plus for both of them over the years when seeking employment. It seems that employers see homeschooler as self motivated……… lots of stories; too many to mention.
        Terry

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  6. I’ve written about this elsewhere but one of my fave memories of libraries is walking to them! In Philly, we had a public library that was a good, healthy walk for a seventh grader but lots of fun with your siblings or to meet up with a friend from school. They had reading programs, showed movies and, yes, had lots and lots of books. I don’t think a week went by when someone in my family didn’t have a stack of books from the Free Library of Philadelphia. And, yes, what a great thing it was to put the word “free” first. Thanks for bringing this up & best of luck with the summertime farmer’s blues!!! 🙂

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  7. Our local library ran cool documentaries sometimes. I still remember the one on Houdini – how after all those life-threatening stunts what got him was a lethal punch in the stomach. I can still smell that library. =) Neat starting quote.

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    • I went to an amzing used bookstore yesterday with my husband. It was a barn deep in the woods of upstate ny. The smell of old books permeated the entire property. Delightful. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’re having a great summer.
      A

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