Posted by Kim Leonard
September is I Love My Library month. Which is great timing on the part of whoever it is that decides what month will celebrate which thing, because it coincides with a rekindling of my own love for the library.
I’ve been a card carrying library lover since I was a kid. I remember picking out piles of books that would be impossible to read in a two week period- All the Beverly Clearys and Judy Blumes I could get my hands on. Books about origami, books about ghosts. I had a particular thick plastic book bag that I would stuff to the handles every time mom would take me- usually when we had time to kill before doing something else downtown. I didn’t actually know there were other branches, or that there was one really near our house growing up. My library has always been the Fresno County Public Library’s Central Branch, right in the middle of downtown.
In the last few years, I’ve put reading for fun on hold. Kids, work, a house to keep up with, a husband to get along with (happily married people, you can’t deny that even on good days, communication can take a chunk of time and effort! It’s probably more work than being miserable and ignoring one another!) and wasn’t I supposed to be a writer, writing?
So I stopped going. I’d take the kids once every few months, but it would be straight to the Doris Gates room and straight out. No books for me. I’m too busy adulting to read.
Adulting, and not writing. Well, not writing anything other than blogs, newsletters, press releases.
Speaking of those blogs, newsletters, press releases- they’re the reason I fell back in love with the library. A few months ago as I was compiling one of our weekly event updates I thought I’d cruise on over to the Fresno County Public Library’s website to see if I could find any events to pad a week that was a little lean on Monday action. Don’t they always do things at the library?
Yes, Kim. Yes they do, but unlike what I thought I’d find, it was far from just fluff to round out my events calendar. Weekly veterans workshops, genealogy classes, teen crafts, Author talks, book signings, storytime, knitting meet ups, the list goes on. The library is always busy. And I was looking at only the central branch. If you wanna be overwhelmed, look at the full events calendar at the Fresno County Public Library without filtering out any branches. The thing goes on and on.
And then I found myself clicking around and wasting time on the clock, “Well, the events calendar link is right there, but that featured book looks intriguing…” and then I’d wind up thinking “I should check that out.” But, adulting came first.
School is back in, and with it, the reality that my oldest struggles with his AR points and my youngest needs more challenging books than her grade level gives her came back around after a summer off. We packed into the car and headed downtown. My youngest quickly found 6 books that she wanted, while my oldest wandered from shelf to shelf, not sure what to look for. That’s when I found the AR bookmarks for each grade level, and we used it to pick a book. And then, he found a Ninjago graphic novel that he really wanted to read. I hadn’t seen him get excited about the written word in a long time. (Unless the written word is like, fart, and he’d written it himself, and was found giggling in a corner of the living room over it. Because that happens a lot. He’s 8.)
As we were walking to the self-checkout, the kids stopped me. “Mom, you said we ALL have to pick at least one book we really want.” I got called out, how could I explain adulting to them without sounding like a big ol hypocrite. And then, from across the lobby I saw it in the new books case, the name came to me from my childhood, “Judy Blume, In the Unlikely Event.” A grown up book, and one that let me put down my adulting long enough to pick it up. I didn’t even have to browse.
I finished it within one week.
And you know what’s amazing? 400 pages of fiction were consumed and I didn’t miss a car payment. The kids had food and didn’t leave the house in their underwear. My job wasn’t in jeopardy. My marriage survived. And I wrote. Probably for the first time in months, maybe even years, I started writing and couldn’t stop. What a novel idea, to be a good writer I’d have to be a good reader. No wonder writing came so much easier to me when I was younger.
So that’s my I Love My Library story. The Central branch is my library, and I’ll never neglect it again.
Are you interested in rediscovering the library, oh brave adulty adult who does adulting a little too well? This is your lucky month:
The Central Branch of the Fresno County Public Library is located at 2420 Mariposa Street, Fresno, California 93721.