Jesse Hayworth
Jesse Hayworth

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Jaunty Post, Jesse Hayworth

Okay JauntyFriends, it’s confession time. Last year, I published a Mustang Ridge novella about a (sexy, smart aleck) tech-savvy contractor who came into town to update the local library and wound up butting heads (and other things) with the (vibrant, headstrong) vintage store owner who wanted everything to stay the way it had always been. I loved the characters, loved the story, and loved the idea of a library that had seen better days getting a facelift that would keep it at the center of the small-but-growing town of Three Ridges.

So what’s the confession? Until a few months ago, I hadn’t been inside a public library since childhood. Junior high, maybe? High school?

I had fond memories, mind you. There was the big library my parents would take me to when I was very little. I can still picture where the Billy and Blaze books were shelved, still feel the excitement of checking out a microscope–an actual microscope, with glass slides and everything–for two weeks of examining everything from onion skins and pond water to the dust from under my bed. Then there was the library closer to our house, where my mom had to give permission for me to check out Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt books from the grown-up floor. And over the years, those slow-footed travels up and down the aisles to see what was new, what I hadn’t yet read.

I remember the smell of those libraries, the quiet, the fun of discovering a new author or book. But somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit. At first it was because college and grad school made libraries feel like work. Later, it was because I wanted to support my writer friends by buying their books. More recently, it was because … well, just because.

And then along came Wallaby, and the realizations that: a) board books are expensive; and b) board books can become bored books very quickly. So why not borrow instead of buying? As a bonus, I had become friends with one of our local librarians (shout out, Cathleen C!), who hosted a romance book club at the library and went on to join me and author-friend Gail Chianese (shout out, Gail!) at our local RWA chapter. As a more-or-less-well-disguised introvert, it helps when I know someone.

So off we went one morning to the big public library in the town next to ours, where we discovered (in no particular order, but lots of enthusiastic squeals): Trains! Puzzles (or ‘Puzz’)! Row-row (a toy boat)! Story hour! Baby art! Computer stations with toddler-friendly educational programs! Lots of super nice librarians! And, hey, BOOKS!

Suffice it to say that I’ve come back around full circle to being a huge library fan as I make wonderful new memories with my kiddo, much like the heroine of Starting Over at Mustang Ridge. And the other morning, when I asked almost year-and-a-half-old Wallaby whether he wanted to go to the library or playground, expecting an answer of either ‘Slides!’ or ‘Trains!’ he said loud and clear, ‘Li-brerry.’ And when he got there, he bypassed the trains to pick out his three new board books before doing anything else.

Thus, we hope, a new reader–and library user–emerges.

How about you? Did you haunt the library as a child? Did you visit one with your kids? Do you have one you love, or a favorite librarian you’d like to give a shout out? Tell us about them!

 


17 thoughts on “Off to the li-brerry (sic)

  1. Dawn A says:

    Our public library had a really great kids room, so our mom would turn us loose and let us do what we wanted. I enjoyed the books and the puzzles. Now, I don’t visit the library as often as I’d like, but when I’m there I make the most of it!

    1. I never properly appreciated the joys of a kids room until, yanno, I had one. Thanks for the shout out, Dawn!

  2. Amy says:

    Love does not even come close to my feeling about the library. The programs they had when my son was a little guy were phenomenal! Granted, it took WEEKS before I could get him to cross the story-room threshold because he was the poster child for “slow-to-warm-up”. But the teacher for the class, Miss Dawn, was so understanding about his reluctance and helped to get him to give it a shot.

    1. Aw, I love that story, Amy. I’m feeling it, too. My guy is his father’s son–super brave outdoors, not big on crowds. So far, we’ve been sneaking into Baby Story Art for the ‘warm-up’ and sneaking back out when things get too packed in. Thanks for the post!

  3. Jenn says:

    I loved going to the library as a kid, I even volunteered at my local library when I was in school. I’ve unfortunately gotten out of it in the past 15 or so years because the library in our town doesn’t carry the kind of books I like to read.

    1. Cool on the volunteering! Bummer that your local library doesn’t do what you need it to. I’ll admit it took me a couple of tries to find the right fit for us–the first one we tried, the ladies kept looking at me like ‘you’re going to touch our books, aren’t you?’ LOL!

      1. Jenn says:

        I know some libraries in the state (I’m in CT) let you go to neighboring libraries but mine. I keep going in and hoping I’ll find what I want one day. 🙂

  4. Stacy Porter says:

    I think me and my mom have donated at least half the books at our local library lol. It’s small and all the librarians knew us by name until it got new management…then a new librarian tried to put me on a child’s computer one day even though I have DRIVEN to the library myself. Ugh. baby-face problems. But, I do love libraries!

    1. Snickersnort. Please forgive me for laughing, Stacy–it’s with you, not at you, honest! Because, dude. That’s rough. Hugs to you and hi to your mom!

  5. Ann M says:

    Library… so much fun. So many memories as a child visiting a very small one room library which was an off shoot of the main library in town – The BOOKMOBILE .. library which lands come to your block, Small town library that I would ride my bike (probably 3 miles uphill both ways) to several times a week during the summer not to mention school libraries doing research papers.

    I, too, rediscovered libraries when my first one was born. We did many Mommy and Me programs and borrowed books, and books and music on cassette tapes. Summer reading programs.. what fun – keeping track of books or writing little reviews to earn books. Our bookmobile stopped down at the end of our street.. the librarians knew my boys. It was sad when funding to keep the bookmobile disappeared.

    I re-rediscovered the library with books on tape and borrowing books so I don’t have to buy them. Plus now I donate my used books to the book sale which our library sponsors.

    I am impressed Wallaby includes the first “r” in library. A pet peeve of mine when adults call it – li-berry.

    My favorite librarian is my cousin who is a school librarian in a junior high school in Virginia. 🙂

  6. Beth B. says:

    LOVE libraries, book stores & holding the actual book in my hands! I even seek out the book stands in drug stores & grocery stores!

  7. Love that kid. So glad you two are having fun there; it is a great library (and um, they have very good taste in authors thanks to Cathleen!).

    I loved my library as a kid, but I have gotten away from using it simply because my local library doesn’t have a lot of books in stock that I want to read. It’s small, space is limited and the hours are weird.

    Hugs and RWA is weird without you too!

  8. Kate Sparks says:

    One of my favorite places growing up!!

  9. Annette Naish says:

    In rural Indiana, it was a bookmobile. Our schools did not have libraries. I always got as many as I was allowed. I always felt that there were not enough allowed. I worked in a huge public library in Dallas – long ago. Later I lived in a small town and became the staff of a new startup library. I cataloged, I swept, I talked to people, I loved my work. I got us certified by the state. I was in heaven. Recently I re-upped here in Austin. I believe that we are absolutely blessed – we live in a country where there are libraries which mean books which means people can become readers. Wonderful!

  10. Martha Lawson says:

    I have always loved the library and have been going for years! I have been a branch librarian in my small community since 2007 and I love it!

  11. Michelle F. says:

    I am at the library now and go most weekdays for Internet access (no computer at home). I can walk to the library. Our system here in Toledo is large: main library and about 18 branches. Sad to hear in comments above that some people couldn’t find the kind of books they wanted at their libraries (small systems?). I also get books, magazines, the latest DVD’s, and sometimes books on CD or Playaway. I’ve been a library user from about the age of seven and read all the Three Investigator mysteries I could find there. No kids. I also enjoy the library book sales held about seven times a year. On Saturdays you can get a big paper grocery bag of books for $7.00.

  12. Quilt Lady says:

    Our local library is always having something going on from story time for the little kids to computer classes for seniors. My son is the IT person there. Tonight they are having some kind of Mystery thing for Tweens.

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