Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

Love Your Library

by Nancy J Cohen

March brings our local library’s annual author luncheon. Owned by the city, this library is housed in a brick building amid live oak trees in a tranquil setting. The history museum is next-door. These are not huge structures, as they’re only single story. But the library evokes many fond memories. Our kids did their community service hours there while in school. We frequented the children’s room in their early days. This wasn’t like the county-run public library system where you might feel lost among the stacks. It was more like the hometown library where I grew up.

I remember walking the aisles in my youth along with my father, and he pointed out to me the Horatio Hornblower series. “You might like these books,” he suggested. I didn’t think I’d care for a historical series featuring a British naval officer, so I passed them by in favor of the Nick Carter and Alistair MacLean adventures I liked at the time.

Years later, I rediscovered Horatio Hornblower and devoured them like candy. And from them, I learned a valuable lesson. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Horatio next. Never mind the naval battles in each story. As Horatio progressed from midshipman to admiral, I hung on every experience that made him grow as a person. And this is what I try to do with my own writing. It’s the personal threads that count to readers more so than the mystery in each volume of a series. It is critical for your main character to grow and evolve.

I’m now a member of the Friends of the Library here in my home city and attend their monthly meetings with interesting speakers. Their bimonthly book sales bring in money that is donated to the library for its various programs. Libraries do so much more than offer books these days. They are multi-media centers with multiple functions online and on-site. I might not check out books anymore, but I still love our libraries that serve such an important need in our communities.

Do you have any poignant memories of your local library?

Comments

  1. I haven’t been to my local library is years. No real need to. I trade paperback books at Paperback Swap and buy (or get free) ebooks from Amazon. The last time I used a library was when I had a computer crash and needed to use their computer to order a new PC from Dell. That had to be 15 years ago now.

  2. Dianne B. says

    I lived in the country, 7 miles from town and our town was a small town of only 6000 people and the library had limited hours. I think it was 2:30 pm to 5 pm, and open late, one evening a week. As I lived in the country, I had to pay for a library card. I no longer remember the charge but my parents always had me check out 10-12 books and the librarian would stamp 1 box on my card but write the number, in pencil so I knew how many books I’d checked out. It made my card last longer. When I went to High school, there was no longer a charge for the library card since I was going to school in town. I read a lot of books, including many of the Bobbsey Twinbooks, the Sherlock Holmes series and many more I no longer remember. I always loved to read and still do.

    • So many of us got our start with those early series books. I was a fan of Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and Judy Bolton. It is so important to hook kids early on reading.

  3. authorlois says

    My earliest library memory is from first grade and took place in the school library, where we were taken once a week. It was Chinese New Year time, and the librarian was reading us a book about the festival. She then showed us one of her prized possessions–an antique dragon about 6″ long. I think it was made of papier mache or some similar material and was from the 19th century or early 20th century. She turned it over, and showed us a symbol on it’s stomach–a swastika! Even as first graders, we knew that was an abhorrent symbol, but at the age of 6 we learned that the Nazis had co-opted the symbol from the Chinese, for whom it was originally considered a good luck symbol.

  4. cherylhollon says

    Our local library was important to our family. We satisfied our curiosity about everything under the sun. As the oldest in a family of four children, I was in charge of making sure we each had our eight book limit before it was time to check out. I loved that place and I still love libraries.

  5. Maggie Toussaint says

    I have kazillion fond memories of library-time back in the day. I took my kids to our library when they were small pints, and now they take their kids. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s always so much packed into a story. I still adore reading to this day. It’s my most favorite past time. Libraries expanded my horizons, and in doing so, allowed outside influences into my small town childhood. It gave me the opportunity to think for myself at an early age, and in time gave me the confidence to spread my wings.

    • I wonder if my kids will take their children to the library. They have an outdated notion of what purpose a library serves. I’m hoping when they have kids that it’ll drive them to pay a visit and see what modern libraries have to offer.

  6. I always LOVED going to the library when I was a kid. But, it was weird. There was some smell in our local branch — maybe the odor of old ink and paper? — that always made me feel sick to my stomach after awhile. I’ve never experienced that since, but it made library-ing a bit tough while we lived there. Still, I always managed to hold out long enough to grab 7 or 8 books before I had to flee for fresh air. No one else I knew ever had that problem, so it’s a mystery why it affected me. 🙂

  7. My parents told people we moved when I was 12 because I’d finished the local library. In our current rural location, our library system has 2 branches, but they still offer a variety of programs, including programs for kids, which is so important in instilling a love for reading early on.

    • Today a library has so much more than books. We can only hope that kids who go there learn to enjoy reading in addition to using the computers and renting movies.