philosophy, research, stories, writing

The Joy of the Library

Thank you all for your encouragement on my last post! I did get out my journal (and my fancy pens that I bought for art and then never used because I haven’t started the art book yet) the other day, but I haven’t written in it yet. Mainly because I started a new writing project (I am calling it Jane Austen meets Alias meets Diana Wynne Jones, which gives you a glimpse into how my brain works) and am having too much fun with that to try anything else.

Carl and the kids dropped me off at the library Friday late afternoon, and after wandering around for twenty minutes in a blissful daze about being able to pick out books without distraction, I meandered to the back, sat at a table, pulled out my laptop, and wrote.

Aside from the one tutor who breezed through the DESIGNATED QUIET AREA (seriously, there are signs!) talking at the top of his voice to his clearly not-hearing-impaired student, it was bliss. Forty minutes of quiet writing time, no one needing me, no guilt over the household chores staring at me, no need to hop right up and get supper started, nothing.

So I wrote, and I plotted, and I looked up the differences in address as regards a contessa vs a countess, and I wrote some more, and finally I got up with a happy sigh, checked my books out, went into the foyer, called Carl, and talked him through the last few steps of supper prep (basically: “Stir, turn the oven off, leave the dish covered.”). Then he and the littles came back for me, we went home, and ate the dinner that I’d started before I left and Carl finished. It was delicious, by the way. Lentils and rice!

We are definitely attempting to make this a weekly thing. Coffee shops are fun, but a quiet (or MOSTLY QUIET yes I’m talking to you obnoxious tutor who was supposed to be in the teen room anyway) library with all sorts of wonderful resources (not just the internet!) at my fingertips is far better for me. And it gets me out of the house, and even one hour of not having to be “mommy” is wonderful.

I love libraries, always have, ever since I was very young and enthralled by the one row of picture books at our local library (it was teensy-tiny, for a teensy-tiny town, but far better stocked than you might think). Library nights were the highlight of the week for our family for years: Dad would get home from work, we’d all pile in the car and drive to the library (the one night it was open late), browse for a while, check out an enormous stack of books apiece, stop at the gas station on the way home for soda (or Clearly Canadian – Mountain Blackberry was the BEST) and chocolate bars, then go home, Dad would make popcorn, and we’d all sit in the living room with our books and snacks, and read until bedtime.

The first thing I do in every new town we move to is find the local library. Sometimes the local library sucks and we have to go further afield to find the best one for us. We’ve been lucky these last two moves – we’ve ended up only five minutes away from a wonderful library each time.

The big excitement for Joy when she turned five was that she could finally get her own library card. Both the girls love going to the library, admittedly for the toys as well as the books, but also for the thrill of SO MANY books in one place, and all for the reading of anyone who wants. It really is a wonderful thing, when you think about it.

So it makes sense, for me, that the library would bring a sense of peace to my soul when I go there to write, that it would feel just right, comfortable and natural in a way that no other place can quite match. I’m already eagerly anticipating my next writing visit there.

Maybe this week I’ll get around to attempting some poetry.

Where is your favorite out-of-the-house place to write?

Joy signing her name for the library card

Enthralled in a book that she checked out all by her very own self!

10 thoughts on “The Joy of the Library”

  1. So cute! I love to write at the Library as well. There aren't any bookstores I can write in in my small town and we have a great library for how small we are. It's the best to be surrounded by authors who came before us!

  2. When I take the kids to the library, I can't get writing done. When I'm at the library myself it's probably because I'm working, and still can't get writing done. But I'd love to write in a library and probably will someday when they're in school and I can get away by myself.Also, we use two libraries, ours down the street (where I work) and a bigger one 15 minutes away. They both have their pluses and minuses.

  3. I know, talk about inspirational! Even with the internet constantly at our fingertips, there's something special about being physically surrounded by so many words and so much information.

  4. Ha, when I lay on the couch or bed, I have two small creatures jumping on me or wanting to know when I'll be making them MORE FOOD. For this mom of little children, home is never a place of quiet!

  5. I still compare every library I visit to my home libraries. Even though some are much better than the ones I grew up with, if they don't have the same sense of warmth and book-love, they simply aren't as good. Of course, nothing will ever match the librarians who knew us personally, watched us learn to read and grow up, and were as solid a part of our lives as any other friends or family.

  6. I recently turned my study/guest room into a bedroom for my older daughter, which meant hauling all my books (and the bookcases) out into our hall landing. Joy came into the hall, looked at the books lining the wall, and said "Hey! This is like a library now!" Best room rearranging EVER.

  7. I can see how being a librarian would make the library a less than restful place at the moment. I'd imagine that if you're there even when you're NOT working, people still ask you questions and assume you're there to help them? That's what happens to my dad at the hardware store, anyway.

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