A Response: My Love of the Library

I started off writing a comment in reply, but it has grown into a post in its own right, responding to an article by @circustiger.

13 on the prompt list is;

“Write about why you write.”

I have loved words for as long as I can remember being aware of them. Whether it be a long, complex paragraph or a brief sentence; the way you can use letters and spaces to articulate how you’re feeling has always been something that’s enchanted me. … circustiger.micro.blog

One of my fondest memories of an overall negative primary school experience between Years 1 - 4 was being allowed to become a school library volunteer. Basically I was an out-of-place nerd that was rescued from destruction in the playground, and instead put to work sorting and shelving. I loved it. The Dewey Decimal1 system became my fascination, and using the card catalogue (pre-computer) a tactile, sensory source of joy.

As you mentioned in your piece, the little card contained within a slip inside the jacket, and a sheet which could be satisfying marked with the fun date-stamper was another joy for the senses. The sight of the dates (how long has this book sat on a shelf? When was it first borrowed?), the ASMR satisfaction of the catalogue card sliding into its envelope. Such joy. The final joy was the first borrowing of a new book. A fresh, clean plastic protector over the cover, crisp pages offering the potential of something new, never read before.

The library, for me, was and is, a joyous place. Down with ‘multimedia centres’. Forget the ‘collaboration spaces’. Give me a library, with books, with organisation, with soul. In that place my soul can also rest.

  1. Sadly, Dewey himself has been outed as being not a particularly nice person, and his Decimal system is full of bias and poor organisation. ↩︎

Andrew Canion @canion