I will forever be indebted to the Parkside Library of San Francisco. During my late elementary and early middle school years, we lived just a few short blocks away, and it housed me for the better part of my afterschool hours and summer days. My brothers and I would roam it, as large as a space it seemed to us at the time, and we scrounged its shelves for every book appropriate for us.
It wasn't too long until I moved on from the children's section to, then, the minuscule middle grade and young adult section. It consisted of a solitary spinning rack, and there I found Judy Bloom's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, and Forever, and S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders and Rumble Fish.
It was then that the world opened up to me as this great big chasm of infinite possibilities.
I still feel the same way, walking into a library, whether it's on or off-post, in the chill of beautiful upstate New York, or in the heat of the great state of Texas. And it doesn't matter to me if my book isn't available, or if I'm distracted by my little ones. Just being in the library makes me feel like the world is exactly the way it should be: peaceful, generous, creative.
And when I walk out of the library each week with more than enough books for even a superhuman to read, I am me at 11 years old, checking out the maximum of thirteen books per visit. I am me now, eager for inspiration and imagination through the written word. And I am just like my children, looking for that next great story to talk about over dinner.
How about you? Do you love the library as much as I do? Where is your happy place?