Going To The Library
“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” Albert Einstein
Towering bookcases. Shelves for miles. That smell I will never forget as long as I live. I spent a ton of time in many beautiful libraries in New York which was odd considering my mother was legally blind.
There were so many books and worlds on those shelves. I think it is one of the reasons I know how to entertain myself. I wasn’t allowed to watch TV and beautiful old libraries were our winter or bad weather “family field trips.’
My father would go off somewhere and read. My mother went to the record section and listened to something she would always say was amazing. We were left to roam freely around the children’s section by ourselves, picking up books, reading a few pages and putting them back until we found the one that we couldn’t put down.
The first time I ever walked anywhere without a parent besides school, was to the small neighborhood library. I was ten or eleven years old and I walked with two friends. It was sixteen blocks. I felt very scared and very grownup. I didn’t know that my mother was walking several paces behind us. She let me be so proud of my independence and didn’t tell me till many years later.
My children always did the summer reading program at the Beverly Hills Library. I wanted them to be as comfortable in a library as I was. One day, my four year old daughter wanted to stay in the library by herself and work on her project. I remembered my mom and hid in the back of the children section for an hour so she could have that alone in the library feeling.
Growing up in the library, you learn to be observant. You also learn there are creeps hanging around the library — like everywhere else (ever been to a Starbucks mid-afternoon?) Through your superhuman power of observation, you know when someone is sketchy and you follow your instincts. You know when to hop over to a more crowded section of stacks, or to let a librarian know someone’s being a weirdo.
The library was where I could check out as many books as I wanted, so naturally, it was one of my favorite spots in the world. I believe I still have a few overdue ones.
No matter what was happening at school or at home, I knew once I walked into that place of quiet and organization, my thoughts would calm and my mood would lift. It was a way to leave the real world outside.