At first I was focused on the goal. I was at the library to get books for one son and to get a documentary film for the other. They both had assignments to do and I was acquiring the necessary resources. So I went straight to the shelves I needed and plucked books off of them. Then all the way downstairs to where the DVDs were stashed to get one of those. Then I hit the third portion of my visit. There are some books that I’ve been meaning to read. I looked them up. They weren’t in a single convenient location. One was upstairs in the adult non-fiction wing. Another was in the basement section devoted to fiction.
As I traveled through the stacks, my footsteps slowed. I found myself running a hand along the spines of books. There were so many of them and some of them had obviously been there for a very long time. I mused about how a book can get lost among the shelves of the library. Even if my books were on the library shelves (which they currently aren’t) I wondered why on earth anyone would pick up one of my books. I paid attention to the spines and titles as I passed them. Every so often one would jump out at me, catch my attention, and I would pause. I didn’t always know why a particular book caught my eye, but some of them did. I guess I have to trust that one day when my books are available in libraries, they will catch the eye of people like me who are wandering through the stacks.
I found my books and a few extras. As I walked to the circulation desk I was very grateful that my community has a library. Our family has just entered a period when we can’t be buying books on a whim. Yet because of the library, we still have access to the books we need. Learning is not stalled for lack of money. This is important because lack of learning creates lack of money in vicious circles.
I noted a poster for the Orem Writes series at the Library. I was part of that event last year and truly enjoyed it. For a moment the poster made me sad because it means I’m too late to participate this year. I should have sent an email to volunteer months ago. I meant to, but life was busy and I didn’t do it. Similarly, last year I helped with and event called Writing for Charity. But by the time I started thinking about it, the organizers had a full slate of writers. The sadness only lasted a moment. I love to teach, but my life is very full right now. It will not hurt me to have a year with less teaching and more creating. Perhaps next year I’ll get to teach more.
The checkout system at our library feels like magic. I drop my card in a slot, punch a few buttons and then slide the books over an outline on the smooth counter. They show up on the screen and turn green when they’re good to go. I know that it is all chip technology and completely explainable, but it feels like magic in much the way that I used to view self-opening doors at the grocery store when I first encountered those as a child. Also, having my card pop up out of the slot when I’m done is a small happy thing. It may be silly, but there is a little popping noise and the card jumps up. “Don’t forget your card!” the screen tells me. And I don’t because the card and I have been together for quite a long time now. Life could use more small happy things, even if they seem silly when trying to explain why so small a thing could be happy.
The bag of library materials was sorted through the minute I got home. We’re now ready for the learning which must come next.