By Cheryl Laughlin – The studying was relentless. I couldn’t screw up. I immersed myself into an SAT-like study bubble. And when I got to the library that Saturday, I nailed it. I wrote my name, my age (six!) and my phone number, and the kind librarian handed me my first library card.
In the eyes of the library, I was a bona fide adult. (Okay, my mom probably co-signed something since I was a minor, but she kindly filled out the paperwork above my tiny field of vision.)
Independence was now mine… followed by a tiny, geeky “bwahaha!” No more adults to check out books. No more nonstop requests for rides to the library. Because, as a country girl, the bookmobile showed up in my neighborhood every week. When I sprinted down the street, they treated me just like any other adult checking out “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?“
And since then I’ve been on a full-tilt, word-nerd journey, and I haven’t slowed a bit in my love of all things word. Just last month I stopped into the San Francisco Library to pick up the most adorable penguin library card to add to my mini library card collection.
And of course, the trip included gawking at the amazing nautilus-shell atrium featured in the Meg Ryan/Nicholas Cage film “City of Angels.”
When Books Equal Hope
When I wanted to learn how to screenwrite (eventually writing the script that would kickstart this jewelry journey), I turned to interlibrary loan.
Screenwriting books from all over California, many from Universities hours away, magically showed up at my local library’s checkout desk. It didn’t matter to the library that almost all my money disappeared into my Lyme disease treatment at the time.
The library had my back and made sure I never did without this lifeline of hope. My love of books transported me outside my current situation to worlds of possibilities. It was the mental break I needed to break through the Lyme fog.
So this week, raise a book high and celebrate National Library Week. Celebrate the unlimited possibilities and independence libraries bring to people of all ages and backgrounds. From research librarians who will blow your mind on the materials they can track down… to the delicious new book recommendations to tickle your brain… to “all the places you’ll go” Seussian adventures of your next library search, online or in person.
According to Libraries for Real Life: “Americans check out more than 2 billion items each year from public libraries; the average user takes out more than seven books a year.”
Even cooler – “There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S. – a total of 16,541 including branches.” To that I simply reply, “Righteous.”
P.S. Don’t Forget About The Awesomeness Of Bookmobiles
This week also happens to include a shout out to National Bookmobile Day. Bookmobiles have been a time-honored American tradition since 1905. (A precursor to the delightful “Little Free Libraries” popping up now throughout the U.S.)
I never realized bookmobiles were actually customized RVs. They looked so wondrous, that my young self could only image a special bookmobile workshop set up to build these colorful vehicles – like a Santa’s workshop but with book elves that knew how to rock a wrench too.
About The Contributor
Cheryl Laughlin is a Midwesterner who’s followed her love of all things word to California, as owner and designer of BITS OF LOVE jewelry. Besides her word nerd tendencies, Cheryl also admits to a love of Thank You cards… because she can never say please and thank you enough for all the kindnesses along the way. You can follow Cheryl on her blog at BITS OF LOVE or @bitsoflovestyle.