Monday, January 21, 2013

Central Library

I have a lot of memories of the library in my hometown.  It has since moved locations, but it used to be located in an old brick building--an original Carnegie library.

Carnegie Library (Nevada, Missouri)

image from Flickr

We went there frequently--at least weekly, I think.  We participated in the summer reading programs and in the turtle race that took place in the library parking lot (One year my turtle Sprinkles won!  The next year year our turtle bit my mom on the flap of skin between her thumb and forefinger and after that we quit participating...).

We dressed up for the Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Contest.  I was Pippi Longstocking, my brother was Paddington Bear. I believe I got second place in my age category and he got first place in his, which suited us just fine since my turtle had taken first place and his had taken second so we each had the same number of first and second place trophies.  (If only life still seemed so fair.)

I can remember the smell of the library, and how the downstairs (children's library) smelled different from the upstairs even though they both smelled exactly like a library should smell--like sweet glue and old paper.  I can see in my mind the exact location of all the Trixie Beldon books.  There was also red wooden playhouse that had a window for puppet shows.  There were board games in one part of the children's section and sometimes we would play Hi Ho Cheerios because we didn't have that game at home.

The librarian knew us by name and I can still remember my library card number:  2727.  Is that not the best library number ever?

Needless to say, I want the library to be an integral part of Zuzu's childhood, too.  I'm looking forward to participating in story hour and picking out new books to read and making it a regular destination for us.

On Saturday we visited the Central Library downtown for the first time.  And OMG it is SO COOL.  It's such a beautiful building, and they've done such great things with the space.  It was a library back in the day, but had stood empty for so long, and now it's just exactly what a library should be, with all of these separate rooms:  "Children's Library," "Teen Lounge," "Science and Nature," "Business and Law."  It has huge windows and the stacks are lit from within and the furniture is inviting.  They've done a great job of balancing historical restoration with modern technology.  I wanted to wander all over the place and then find a table or a chair to sit and read and write and study.  My inner nerdy bookworm was absolutely giddy.

image from here
My friend (and fellow-library-lover) Abby went with us to check it out.  We chatted with the librarian in special collections about Worlds Fair trivia, which was really fun, and Abby was kind enough to snap this picture of us in the children's library.  A bittersweet moment, honestly, as Make Way For Ducklings is my all-time favorite children's book and the one that I thought about most when I imagined reading to Eliza.

Make way for Duckworths!
No trip to a library is complete without borrowing a book, and I'm copying off another friend in my new resolution to read 100 books in 2013.  It's an ambitious goal, but one I'm perfectly capable of achieving, and I think I need it to be really challenging so that I'm motivated to do it.  100 books means I need to turn off the rerun of How I Met Your Mother so that I can get through a book--not that there's anything wrong with HIMYM, which I actually enjoy, but I just think reading 100 books is probably a better use of my time AND much more the kind of behavior I want to be modeling for Zuzu.  She's paying attention to everything we do these days (and girlfriend will watch anything on TV) so I want to make sure she sees me reading "real books" as much as she sees me watching TV and checking e-mail and reading blogs on my phone.

Of course, I know I won't be reading 100 books of the equivalent of Anna Karenina in a year's time, so I'm also indulging in my love for young adult literature.  I just finished The Golden Compass and have put in requests for the other two books in the trilogy.  Today at the library I checked out Lemony Snicket's new book, All the Wrong Questions: "Who Could That Be At This Hour?" I haven't read any of the Series of Unfortunate Events books that are so popular, but I heard the author do an interview with Terri Gross on a Fresh Air podcast and he was so funny that I decided I wanted to read this book, which seems to satirize the detective noir genre.

There are at least two other library locations that are much closer to our house than Central Library, and both are really nice facilities.  They just aren't quite as magical as this space downtown.  It isn't much like the hometown Carnegie library that I remember so fondly, but it's very lovely in its own way.  I am quite certain that Zuzu's first visit to Central Library will not be her last.

Here's a link to the website.  The video is totally worth watching, seriously.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have 100 books to read.


  1. We recently discovered what we believe is the central public library in Heidelberg (we needed to catch a tram whose stop was "stadtsbibliothek" and this led us into a discussion of the fact that "library" is "bibliotheque" in French, not "libraire", which is "bookseller"). Once we're settled in a bit more, I look forward to going there and seeing if story-hour is uniquely American or if they do that over here too. Children's books are a great way to learn a new language, so all three of us would probably go!

  2. I read one book a month last year. And now hang my head in shame. SHAME. you are my hero Dr. Taylor (Dr. Duckworth has kinda an adorable ring to it).

  3. Read the entire Series of Unfortunate Events. Do it! That will be 13 books off your 100 and they are all very enjoyable. There are legitimate GRE vocabulary words sprinkled throughout and a ton of literary jokes for the grown-ups so they are like academic and everything. I read them all aloud to Ewan when he was younger and we both just loved them all!

  4. Central Library is beautiful! We have a new library nearby and I had dreams of taking Bear to story time each week. Maybe when Bode is a little bigger and I'm feeling less paranoid about germs I will get up the courage to take him.

  5. I also read the Series of Unfortunate Events. Very clever reads for kids {ehm, and adults}.

    I just can't wait until Benjamin wants to read long chapter books with me. Eeee!

    You guys are CUTE stuff. Also, you have incredible memory. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast and you go telling these detailed stories about various prizes you won dressing up as characters of books.

    I would expect no less from you, Dr. T.

  6. What an absolutely beautiful building. I am so glad they renovated it and have it open to the public. It's a treasure! (I'm totally sentimental for old buildings, you can probably tell).

    We need to go back to the library. James has been in this screamy throwy stage for so long I kind of dread public outings, but the only way to teach him how to act in the library is to actually take him there.

  7. We have a teeny tiny library run entirely by volunteers in our town (I know!!) but an old high school friend is taking some college classes and is doing story time for free every Friday for G's age group. There's books, singing, dancing. It's magical. I LOVE that G's first library experiences are so positive. I can't wait to see if her love of books continues to rival mine.

  8. OMG! I loved the Trixie Beldon books and have been picking them up as I find them (very sporadically) at used book stores and the like. V has been to our library several times in his short life. Ours unfortunately has just closed for the next year due to a huge and much needed expansion. I am sad about this, but hear that they are going to try and do just as much in their new temporary space. I love my books and the fact that I can borrow brand new movies for free! When C died, we donated several loss books in his honor and on bad days I would go and see if they were still on the shelf or if someone else out there was having a horrible day just like mine. I am curious to see if these books made the cut in the new space. Thiking of you and sweet Eliza~Missy

  9. I meant, I heart Trixie Belden. I don't hear her - like voices in my head.

  10. I totally remember our small town library. The sound of the wood floors creaking and the light from the windows in the children's section. When Daryl and I visited Manhatten New York. The NY public library was my favorite place! 100 books is a feat! I'm glad you are including easier shorter reads as "counting". I could do it too if paddigton bear and Pete the cat were in the mix ha!

  11. Woo-hoo! 100 books! I ran out of stuff to read yesterday and had to resort to Ben's John Grisham stash, but 100 books is a lot- they can't all be winners.

    We also had a Carnegie library, and I have nothing but wonderful memories of it, especially because I was a really advanced reader, and all the librarians loved me and saved books for me and thought a little kid in the grown up room was the cutest thing they'd ever seen (not a lot of big readers in my town apparently).

    BUT I have never had a good time taking my own kids to the library. They are loud and run around and hate story time (WTH??) and never let me find books. I find myself ordering from Amazon for everyone or taking them to B&N instead. Hmmmm, maybe I need to work on this...

  12. Loved The Golden Compass. Also read it as an adult, after seeing the movie. I quickly read the whole trilogy. Enjoy!

  13. That looks and sounds amazing! I love love love our library! It's a much smaller scale, but it has some great stuff. Brennan loves storytime and I actually just signed him up again. I was not raised going to the library that often (only at school now that I think about it), but it will definitely be a place Brennan will grow up knowing. I don't know what I would have done without it while homeschooling Brennan. So glad you have an awesome library to take Zuzu to. Love the picture with the duckling-definitely bittersweet.

  14. Catching up on a backlog of wonderful posts from you in my Google Reader & couldn't resist commenting on this one! I am ashamed to say I haven't set foot in a library for quite a few years now, but I would have happily lived in one when I was a kid. The town where my ancestors lived when they first came to Canada -- which is about an hour north of where I live now -- has a Carnegie library, originally built in 1910 & since renovated & expanded. (Wikipedia tells me there are 125 of them in Canada, most of them in Ontario.)

    Also, another Trixie Belden fan here. :) Also Nancy Drew, the Dana Sisters, Cherry Ames (nurse) & Vicki Barr (flight stewardess) -- all inherited from my mother. They don't write 'em like that anymore...!

    Good luck on the 100 books goal... sadly, I read fewer than 20 last year. So many great books, so little time... of course, if I spent less of it on Facebook & the like...! ;)