How Libraries Changed Me

So I came across this wonderful article entitled Five Times a Library Changed Me and began to think about how the library had changed my life, outside of you know, wanting to be a librarian.

I went to a pretty small private school where everyone knew everyone and what you could or could not do. I wasn't good at sports, was too scared to sing or play an instrument in front of people and was too much of a rule-follower to be known as a rebel or class clown. But I found my little niche in books and specifically in the library.

I was the girl who held the record in Mrs. Johnson's first grade reading contest, the girl who received permission to take out the "adult" books (this was a Christian school, that just meant regular adult-level books), the girl who organized everyone's classroom libraries and the girl who was always picked to read devotions (again, it's a Christian school) for the class every morning.

But the greatest thing of all was being the book reviewer for the school library. The thrill of getting a book before it was cataloged, (in an actual card catalog) before anyone else saw it, was one of the greatest things in the world to me. I think I might have lorded it over my classmates' heads though I'm not sure any of them really cared enough to be jealous. It made me feel important, as if I did have something to contribute despite the fact that I would never score a goal on the school's soccer team. I was helping to choose what went into the school library that had a longer lasting effect.

Fifth and sixth grade I was in charge of the classroom library, my own little kingdom. I kept the books in the correct order on the shelf  (mainly alphabetically), kept track of who had what out, and in a class of 50 students, if you didn't turn your book back in I knew where your locker was and I would hunt you down. I spent hours handwriting each new acquisition into a notebook with its call number from a system I had made up myself, not knowing either Library of Congress or Dewey and lovingly stamped each book with a "This belongs to:" stamp and used stickers to place the "call number" on the side. Dedication and organization - those were the two keys there and two great lessons.

How have libraries changed your lives?


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