All my life I have found love in the library. First there was that thrill of personhood when I was about 11 years old and got my first library card. It had a tiny, stamped metal plate incorporated into the cardboard, my own personal number. I could take out any book I wanted; they’d slide my card through a machine – kachunk! I’d take my books home and fall in love with wise animals, other worlds, heroic children, and fantastic adventures.
I met my husband in the tower of Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University. He spotted me, surrounded by closely packed stacks of books at a tiny desk next to a leaded glass window. It was a fortuitous launch to a relationship. I love the smell of libraries – a whiff of dusty archive, the fragrance of fresh print on new pages. I like to sit in the silence of the stacks, feeling the weight of history and thought heavy all around, grounding me to reality and lifting me toward possibility.
When my four children were small, my favorite outing was library day. Each of them chose five books to take home. We’d return with our colorful stack of 20 new discoveries or old favorites and have “bookfest,” a smorgasbord of reading, aloud or on our own, all afternoon.
You might be able to imagine, then, my thrill last week when I saw my own book, The Field House, on the hold shelf of my local library. “Yup. We’re getting requests. It’s been all over the state,” the librarian told me.
Libraries of clapboard or chrome, stone or stucco, quiet and steadfast, have been my refuge, my fantasy, my celebrants, my champions. How wonderful to find a place here. Thank you for giving us a home.
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.