When I stepped through the door, I remember thinking that my life would never be the same again. The smell of dust and old leather filled the space and the books seemed to grow like tress from the floor to the ceiling. I could feel the magic of exciting adventures that were just waiting for me just inside each book cover.
At eight years old, it was the first library I had ever been in. I thought it was enormous. I later learned that is was a very small library compared to most and though I’ve now visited many huge ones in big cities and universities, none will compare to that small, rural town library of my youth.
Exploring the World Through Books
I slowly walked through the tall book cases looking for the perfect book. It didn’t take long for me to be overwhelmed by how many seemed perfect — horse stories, books about cowboys and pioneers. They all seemed to call, “You’ve got to pick me. You’ve got to read me.”
The lady behind the counter said I could only take eight. So each and every week my mama would bring me back to choose another eight. I read in the car. I read in my bed. I even tried to read in the bathtub but that didn’t work out so well. I just couldn’t get enough.
I must have read every book written by Zane Grey. He was also my daddy’s favorite author when he was a child. I could ride over the prairie and cozy up to the campfire. I rescued horses from bad men and rode in covered wagons to places far from home. I was a pioneer, a ranch hand, a schoolmarm or a sheriff. I could rope cows and brand calves and the friends I made were incredible.
Even as a child I knew I was very blessed. From the time I was a baby my mama read to me every day. Stacks and stacks of Little Golden Books became a part of our routine. By the age of three I was reading them myself.
In school I was exposed to more and more books as our teachers read to us from The Island of the Blue Dolphin, The Secret Garden and Charlotte’s Web. I cried along with the whole class when Charlotte died. I felt the waves crash over me on an island where a cave was my home.
Reading Lasts a Lifetime
As a young adult I moved on to biographies about great men and learned about history through their lives. That’s when Teddy became my hero while reading Morning on Horseback. I also learned about another avid reader, the amazing Mr. Lincoln.
My latest addiction is to the writings of Rick Bragg, but Mr. Twain will forever have my heart with his amazing words.
While others may enjoy reading books off a computer or tablet, you won’t catch me doing that. Give me a leather book covered in dust and I will be a happy camper. There’s nothing like holding a new world in your two hands and getting ready for another fun adventure.
What was your first library experience? What book inspired you to read another and another?