My hometown library allowed children to get their first library card as soon as they turned five. I still remember signing the back of mine in the most childish, block print ever. This, more than the driver’s license I received 11 years later, gave me independence and autonomy. I could take any book I wanted home. I didn’t need my mom’s permission. And I was allowed to look through as many books in the children’s section as I wanted to, until my mom finally dragged me out to run grown-up, boring errands.
Since I was a kid, I’ve had library cards for five different public library systems and three university systems. The library I would go to in Greenwich, London was a tiny, musty, converted house. The public library in Bristol had the first coffee shop I ever saw inside a library (super ahead of its time!). I’ve curled up in the corners of the basement of Powell Library at UCLA. I’ve admired the view of the Hollywood Hills from the West Hollywood’s brand new picture windows. I’ve hung out in the stacks of the epic Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles to avoid traffic, and left with an unwieldy stack of books.
Now, when I need a break, I find myself in the quiet Austin library, which is the only library I’ve seen with a full vinyl record collection. Although that building is still new to me, I can’t wait to discover all of its little nooks and crannies, the areas that make a library truly special.
So, if you’ve been putting off getting a library card wherever you are, do it, do it now. The books are waiting.
Post inspired by Our City Lights.
For more information about Library Card Sign-Up Month, check out the ALA website.