Ode to the Library

The medicine chest of the soul.
— Inscription at the Library of Thebes

As a little girl, I remember making regular trips to our small library to select a new batch of books.  These memories are especially strong in the summer when I recall afternoons spent sitting in circles on the floor, sharing books with other children and listening to animated librarians tell tales of magic and mischief, princesses and pirates.  

Then and now, I love the way a library adventure brings new discoveries and old favorites into my reading repertoire.
Every Monday, my daughter and I continue the library tradition, heading to the local branch for story time and to swap out our Berenstein Bears and Hungry Caterpillars.  
Sometimes when I wander the library, I feel nostalgic.  I wonder if my little girl will grow up with these fantastic treasure troves available to her or will she have to browse books on iTunes or Amazon instead? Will she know the great serendipitous joy of looking for one thing and finding another?  Can she experience the nightly childhood pleasure of settling in under the covers with a smelly old library book and a flash light? Will she imagine who read that same book before her and who will read it after? 
I know iPads and Kindles are the way of the future, but I will never give up books.  There is something so gratifying about turning the deckle edge of a hardback.  The mind pauses, the fingers flip intuitively and the words continue on.  I don't get that same soulful, engaging experience pushing a little button.  Convenient and flashy, yes, but sensual, probably not.  
Call me a hopeless Romantic or maybe even a Luddite, but I'll take an afternoon at the library over a couple of hours with a screen any day.  And, I will do all I can to ensure my own little reader will grow up surrounded by books, loving to read and appreciative of the gift of the library. 

What is your favorite library?  Do you have happy memories of time spent with books? 

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