Do you remember going to the library for the first time and getting your happiness card?
“Ever since we had arrived in the United States, my classmates kept asking me about magic carpets.– They don’t exist-I always said. I was wrong. Magic carpets do exist. But they are called library cards.” Firoozeh Dumas, Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad
“When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began.” Rita Mae Brown, Rita Will: Memories of a Literary Rabble-rouser
“The Parkchester Library was my haven. To thumb through the card catalog was to touch an infinite bounty, more books than I could ever possibly exhaust.” Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World
We went to the library on Friday and were charmed by this cheerful little exhibit. Apparently we weren’t the only adults who liked it. There were no kids around, just a few grown-ups with bright eyes and big smiles, ostensibly collecting Snoopy coloring pages for their kids.
I wondered if the others were remembering the magic of their first card and their early trips to the library. Perhaps they also smiled to think about taking their own children to the library. My son used to love visiting “the girls” … that is, the librarians hosting pre-school story-hour.
Thank goodness for free libraries, one of the foundations of democracy, of learning and refuge and wonder. And here we are again: September! now officially library card sign-up month for another generation of children. Some traditions are worth keeping. Some pleasures don’t fade with time.
The photographs are mine and the cartoon is the work of Chris OBrion, writer, illustrator, visual journalist and editorial cartoonist.