When I was 6, I started to learn how to read. Mind you – I started on September 1st, with everyone else in my class. And I completely sucked at it. Then, suddenly, a couple of weeks after Christmas break, something just clicked. Letters made sense to me now, and I never looked back. Cue 17 years of asking for books, looking at books, loving books, reading books. And until I was about 16, just about all my reading was done through the library.
Back in those days, the library was situated in this gorgeous old buidling – dating back, probably, to somewhere around the Spanish take-over. I’m talking old school. And I loved every minute of it. The entire library was just 3 floors stacked with books. There were countless corners and little places, I could always find something new I wanted to read.
The children’s section was situated all the way on top – the attic, if you will. Think: right under the roof, dark wood beams, being able to look down on the street. And of course: books – everywhere. At the time, going to the library was a thing. As in: in order to make sure our grades didn’t suffer from our excessive reading, my parents had put an upper limit on the amount of times we could go to the library. Looking back, I can’t really blame them.
“I read at a pace my pocket money was never going to be able to keep up with”
There was three of us, and any time we went on any sort of a journey, we would all go to the library together. Directly or indirectly, we’d try and collaborate. If each of us could only borrow 5 books and 5 comics, we had to cooperate… How else would we all have something to read for the entirety of that week, or those two weeks? And no, reading 15 books in a week was – even at that point – not really much of a stretch.
The library was a place I loved to come – sometimes, I’d borrow 5 books as fast as I could, just so I could start reading. And because the library had all those corners and little spots, I would usually have finished the first of my 5 books before we even left. When it changed places, it kind of sucked. Rather than a fantastic historic buidling, the library was put into a new building. Think: lots of white, lots of open space. No cosiness, no hidden corners.
Here’s the thing: at the time I still had to go to the library – I read at a pace my pocket money was never going to be able to keep up with. These days, 150 books is my goal. The reason I know I can set that, is because before I started university, the average number of books I read was way higher. I once asked them to check, and by the time I was 13 I’d already borrowed over 1000 books from my library. That’s just the individual ones, by the way. Re-borrows, re-reads, books my siblings borrowed: all not yet counted.
“I just stopped going”
Once I did start college, the library slowly faded. First of all, I didn’t have as much time to just read. Or, well, not to read for fun, anyways. And so, slowly but surely, I just stopped going. Sure, I’d set foot there every once in a while. See if they had anything fun to read (they usually did). Borrow it (I never finished them). I had so much set reading (and fanfiction to read, and money to buy books with, and an e-reader that allowed me to read a bunch of free books), that I eventually just stopped going.
2017 is, in a way, the year of going back to my roots. Sounds awfully pretentious, doesn’t it? But still, it is true. I love books – I love buying them, I love owning physical copies of them. But more than anything: I love reading them. I’d basically sort of come at the point where it seemed more ridiculous not to go the library, than to take the effort of leaving the house to do so.
In a sense, it’s almost like a love relation rekindled. The library of my childhood is no more. That’s probably what made it so easy to stop going in the first place. But now I’m starting to appreciate the new library. Sure, I wish it was as historic as the previous building. But you know what? It’s still just as book-ish.
“I’m starting to appreciate the new library”
I’m not that big of a fan of poetry – but I do like to read it from time to time. So the library it is. There’s a lot of books I’m not really sure that I’m going to love. Get them from the library, then. Series I used to love, but that aren’t in print anymore? The library has them.
I know people that go to theree just to get some work done. Or maybe they like the silence there. Some might have to look something up – my library has a pretty nice non-fiction setting.
Point is: even if I have “abandonned” my library for the last couple of years, I’m back and fully committed. I love my library. It allows me to read.
I know this is quite a different post to the usual Bookish Fridays. But here’s a quick question: are you a library-lover? Does your town even have one? Around here, I feel like even the tiniest village does. Be sure to let me know below!