The first library I recall was near my grandparents’ house in Harmony, RI, where the library was housed in the rear of the fire department building. The last time I was in Harmony, though, I was relieved to see that all the books had wandered across the street to what once was the elementary school in which I was force fed math in third and fourth grade. I begged, More books, less multiplication, please! No one heard me. I still don’t know my times tables. That’s what the internet is for.
My love of libraries is revealed by how many library cards I carry, four regularly, five if I go east and need one for the library in Bar Mills, Maine. Yes, in libraries there are the books, duh, and quiet, and comfortable chairs, and good lighting. And in Bar Mills, instant recognition that I have relatives living just up the street, so of course, I am welcome to borrow books. I have card number 345 at the Berry Memorial Library, Bar Mills, Maine 04004.
Of course, I have Ben Franklin to thank for lending libraries, although his early one was not free, but he lobbied friends to share the cost of sharing books, when he wasn’t busy flying kites or running a printing press. He at one time in his teens gave up eating meat to save money to buy books. My kind of guy. Fortunately, I’ve not yet had to forego food to buy books. I can borrow what I cannot afford to own. But at the rate I do accumulate them, if we meet and you see me bony and wan, blame the book sellers.