Ah, the days at the lake. When you rise in the morning to eat donuts from a box on the porch, and watch the sun rise over the lake and the mountains. When you swim on and off all day, and end up exhausted and dizzy from sun and swimming and watching kids act crazy all day (and if you're like me also with a bumpy weird rash from too much sun because you're the opposite of tough). That's when that most wonderful of all vacation spots beckons: the local library.
Where we just were, a cluster of efficiency cabins on Lake George, a few steps away was this:
The Hillview Free Library. The picture doesn't begin to convey its utter awesomeness. The cool of the air. The smell of the old, old books. There's a couch, a basket of board books for the tiny, rows and rows of the original Nancy Drews, plus pristine new hardcovers of a dozen fantasy books your kid will look at and just sigh with happiness.
Of course, it wouldn't be complete without the very kind librarian, who will laboriously fill out one of those vertical cards with horizontal lines, where you write your name and then list all the books you take out. And if your father comes looking for some obscure work of naval navigation and doesn't find it, she will CALL YOUR CABIN OFFICE to let the man there know that she found it, and could she please tell the gentleman who was looking for it that she has it at the front desk for him?
It's only one room, really, separated into three sections. It is a sanctuary and a resource at once. This is an excellent library.
So here's the new feature: do you guys have a library or a librarian that's close to your heart? Send it to me and we will all give a shout out to those perennially undervalued institutions (which covers, I think, both libraries and librarians both). We'll post them here. Send images, too, if you have them.
3 thoughts on “Ode to the Tiny Library, plus Excellent New Feature”
Welcome back. It sounds like heaven. I wish we had a library like that. Jealous.
Welcome back! You were not so far from me. If you ever return and feel like meeting all your blog stalkers (I keed)… let us know!
I feel very similar about our vacation library; it’s a little bigger but not much. (I’m thinking about whether I want to post its actual name/location here or send it to you separately.) Isn’t there something compelling about older library buildings, by the way? I grew up with one, that had been added on to in a jumbled mix of addition styles that seems common to many older libraries, at least here in the Northeast. It was later torn down to make room for an assisted living facility, and a shiny giant new library, well-appointed with all the latest gadgets, was built elsewhere in town. Theoretically the newer one is better; but the old one, with its musty smell, architectural quirks (mazelike feel; see-through floor panels in the upper back stacks; overzealous heating), older furniture, etc. is etched in my memory, whereas the new one … meh.
Yes. It’s the musty smell, which is somehow not exactly musty but more like old paper and bindings. The sense of peace there is so tangible.