Hudson Children’s Book Festival author Kimberly Sabatini writes about her library experiences:
Why Our Libraries Will ALWAYS be an Adventure
Today I’m writing about my love of libraries, but first I’m going to interrupt to tell you that I’m not old. Okay–I’m a little old. I’m 44 and I write for kids and teens. So, from their perspective I’m probably ancient. But, FYI, I’m young at heart, so that’s all that really matters–right?
But, whether you consider me young or decrepit, you do have to admit that hanging out in the library is a bit different today than it was in the good old days. In fact, it seems as if today’s library patrons have every reason in the world to frequent their fabulous local and school libraries. With all the technology, they are easy peasy to use. You can peruse the inventory online and then order and renew books at home. All while still in your PJs. That is pretty darn awesome. Back in my day, if you were a freaky-library-loving-bibliophile you had to work for it. Back in the olden times, this is how we did research…
OMG! It was a painful process. It involved multiple levels of ABC order. You had to take notes–by hand–with paper and a pen. No snapping a quick pic with your smart phone. And there was no such thing as the internet. So, if your library didn’t have the book you needed, you had to order it from another library. And wait. There was very little instantaneous gratification in the whole process. And don’t get me started about a teacher assigning the same narrow topic to all the kids at the same time. Or your parents being so s-l-o-w to drive you to the library that there were NO GOOD BOOKS LEFT. Out of desperation you ended up doing a report on the vibrant personality of earthworms. Oh, the pain and frustration.
And when you did finally find the book you needed (on those rascal earth worms) and you went to check it out, your library card looked something like this…
Nothing was digital. They stamped a card with the date you needed to bring the book back and shoved it in a slot in the cover. Big problems if you lost that little card. Those late fees added up and no one sent an email reminder.
And the more I think about it–the more awesome it all seems. I remember how excited I was to get that first and second library card. So proud I still have them. I remember bringing a paper grocery bag so I could carry all my books home. And back in the day, those puppies didn’t even have handles. We worked for our reading material. And I remember the *fist pump* when I actually found something in the card catalogue that I was looking for. (Sometimes rotten, lazy people would rip the cards right off the pole in the box Gahhhhh!!!!!) And then the hooting when I actually found the right book on the shelf. It felt like winning a challenge in Survivor. Fabulous!
Oh my, yes, things HAVE changed. But just because you no longer have the same library adventures that us old fogies got to experience, doesn’t mean there aren’t cool new challenges and adventures that come with the times. You younguns have stuff that can make your time in the library feel just like a reality TV show. In the past, the card catalogue never crashed when the power went out. How do we find the books??? And no one ever accidentally left a community computer logged into the Hanes Underwear Website, with the size of their ginormous tighty-whiteys listed for the next patron to see. The library of today has plenty of potential for life long memories. You must go.
And remember, the most important thing about the library hasn’t changed at all–it’s the place where we get to go and hang out with ALL THE BOOKS for free.
Keep on supporting your local libraries–they will always be an adventure!
Kimberly Sabatini is one of the many authors and illustrators that will be present at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival. She is a former Special Education teacher and a current part time dance instructor and young adult author.
Meet Kimberly at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, May 3rd at the Hudson Junior and Senior High Schools on 235 Harry Howard Avenue. And don’t forget to visit the tables for the Library and the Friends of the Library!