The first libraries consisted of an archive of cuneiform script on clay tablets. These dated back to 2600 B.C., and marked the end of prehistory and the beginning of history. Though they mainly contained records of inventories or commercial transactions, they paved the way to the now vast system of book-filled buildings that offer us education, entertainment and community.
February is Library Lovers Month. Most are large buildings like the academic or national libraries. Unless you have a large library in your home, you probably have ventured into your local public lending library. They offered access to information way before the internet was even an idea.
I was in kindergarten when I received my first library card. My signature on the back was atrocious, but that small paper card gave me an unimaginable power, knowledge. I didn’t realize the extent of this power until I was older, but I loved the fact that I could choose a book, take it home to read, and bring it back when I was done. I could check out as many as I wanted and not have to pay for them.
I still remember the very first book I pulled off the shelf at my public library, Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955) by Crockett Johnson. I loved following the purple trail of that little boy on an adventure. I never knew that book would start me on my own adventure of reading. I certainly didn’t realize that thirty-two years later I would be writing and illustrating my own children’s book.
Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. – Mark Twain
When I was in high school, I was a member of the Library Club. Yes, it was a thing, and I know it sounds like I was an incredible geek. I was in Library Club, Latin Club and Drama Club; so yes, I was a geek and still am. I’m a geek and proud of it! I am also a library lover.
I love going to libraries. I love wandering the stacks of books and seeing the imaginations of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of authors written, printed, and bound. It pleases me to know that someone put all of those books there – for us.
This month take some time and visit your local library. Run your fingers through the card catalog, if they still have one. Check out some books or hang out and read them there. These quiet sanctuaries can be a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are even some extra special days this month that you can celebrate at the library. February 6 is Take Your Child to the Library Day and February 26 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. You can ditch your devices and bond with a book. Mark Twain said, “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” Go Live It.