Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Libraries I Have Loved: Part 1

Reading The President's Daughter reminded me the library in town growing up. I thought I'd share a little of my memories of some of the wonderful libraries I've used over the years this week.

Growing up, I had the privelege of being able to walk to my local library. Sorry to get all "back in my day," but walking to the library was one of my favorites things about our town. We'd go after school or when we were going to or coming from the pool during the summer. I'm sure it was one of the reasons my mom picked that house.

The Springfield Free Public Library was completed in 1969 - and it shows. It's a low-slung, little brick building, tucked behind some trees. So really, not much to look at. But that's not why I went there, of course.

It looks a lot more crowded in that photo than it does in my memory. If I recall correctly, the main desk is straight ahead in that photo and the children's desk is out of view to the right. On the far side, past the main desk and entry (which you can also see in the little drawing logo), is the periodical section and the boring part of the library I never went to (aka, reference - hey, I was a kid).

When I was in college, I loved to visit the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library, right next to the architecture school. I didn't go there too often, but when I did, I loved to sit in one particular corner window that looked out on the courtyard between the school and the library. It was a very popular place to sit, though, so competition was fierce to get there first.

This was also the only library where I ever worked. I was a desk clerk for one semester, my last semester as a 4th year. While I loved being in the library, I was a terrible employee. I was late for my shift at least once a week, and I was more interested in reading the books on hold behind the desk than in actually working.

to be continued...


  1. Past the main desk was the adult section, where I was a page when I was in eight grade. I made $2.15 an hour shelving books 6 hours a week. Loved it. Once tried to insinuate myself in a conversation Mom was having with another adult by claiming I had read Hot Flash by Barbara Bradford while working. I quickly saw from Mom's reaction that my lie was not well-received.

  2. Another notable thing about Springfield Public Library: its across the street from the apartments where the protagonist in Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes lost her virginity. Not kidding.

  3. It was Forever by Judy Blume, not Tiger Eyes. (Or, I don't know, maybe it was both.) I actually re-read Forever recently and had to laugh at that. I remember those apartments, too.

  4. I know that corner window at Fiske Kimball. A very serene place indeed.


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