Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Friday, June 18, 2010

C: Books on Wheels Took Me Places!

summer Reading V’s recent post about our childhood sure stirred up memories.  She’s right.  Summer was divine.  While school was always enjoyable for me, summer was the zenith of the year.  We never went to school into June, and we did not return to school until the day after Labor Day, so we had a full three months off.  Summer had a whole different rhythm of life than the rest of the year.  Now that I am an adult, I don’t get to experience that change in beat (although V does, being a school employee).

My passion for reading dates from my early childhood; I’ve been reading since before I went to school.  There came a time when I could not find anything in my school’s library to read because I had read everything that was of remote interest to me.  For sure, I had read all the books on horses, dogs and native Americans, both fiction and nonfiction. 

When I was a child there was no such thing in our area as branch libraries.  The library downtown was the only library, and it was  housed in a big old building.  The children’slr_library1_f section was in the basement.  Here’s a picture of the building, although I remember a parking lot to the right of the picture, and there is where we would park for our library trips.  When Mom would take us or when the school went a few times on a field trip, we entered the basement through the back side of the building to the right.  See those little half windows peeking up from the ground to the right of the picture?  That was where the children’s department was.   Far from being basement-dreary,  it was like stepping into another world for me—a delightful world.

The library had low, child-high chairs placed at long, low tables.  These had big picture books scattered here and yon, and we could just take a seat wherever and begin the journey to wherever the book we chose would lead us.  As I grew older, I roamed the shelves, looking for titles.  We were allowed to take six books at a time, and I recall going back to the car each library trip with my limit tucked under my arm.

bookmobile1 In the summer a special treat was offered by the library: the bookmobile came every other week the three months we were out of school for the summer.  Flyers would be posted around, and the children would gather at the appointed time in the parking lot of the school. 

The bookmobile was a large Winnebago-type vehicle (not nearly as fancy as this one) which was lined with bookshelves full of books.  I think it was designed for kids, as I don’t remember any adults looking for books there. 

I remember that my mother would not let me ride my horse to get books.  She was worried about the presence of the other kids there and about my juggling the books astride my horse.  This was surely wise on her part.

So, we would walk the half-mile or so to the bookmobile, gathering friends as we went so that my brother and I might be accompanied by four or five by the time we got there to join the little throng that had already arrived.  We would all converge on the bookmobile and wait our turn.  The traveling librarian paced the number who could come in at once so there would be no crowding.

I can still remember the hum of the air conditioner as I looked among the bookmobileinside books and how wonderful the cold air felt after standing on the hot summer pavement.  This freebie was an event for us—a social event as well as one to give us summer reading material.  I saw kids at the bookmobile who lived in the community just far enough away that summer meant no contact other than this.  It was good catch-up time.

I don’t know for sure, but I just imagine that with the emergence of branch libraries in neighborhoods, the bookmobile has become more rare; at least I never see any around our town.  I hope it still reaches out to small communities without their own handy library because it is such a good social tool.

Having this bookmobile come to us created a time for visiting with our friends, and excitement would build for the appointed day.  For me, it reinforced the connection between reading and pleasure.  It surely is a treasured summer memory.  C


Kat_RN said...

We had a branch library close by when I grew up, my memories of it and summer are much like your bookmobile ones. Thanks for reminding me.

Vee said...

Lovely nostalgic post... We had no bookmobile...alas! The town library was a hole in the wall with no children's library. Our school also had no library...a book cart served as one and those books took me places even with such an obvious limit of books. I particularly loved the biographies of the greats...George Washington, Clara Barton, etc. Mercifully, my mother and grandmother were wonderful givers of books for birthdays and holidays. Thanks for a sweet reminder.

Vickie said...

We only had the big library downtown. I did not want to read during the summer, but like you I read everything with horses, indians and animals that I could get my hands on! I'm still looking for an edition of "A Penny's Worth" about a pony that was my absolute favorite book in elementary school I must have checked it out 20 times at least - that and a book about Crazy Horse (the Indian). I'll find it one of these days!

Frosty Duncan said...

We went to the bookmobile all the time when we were little. I remember scanning the books, finding stories of great adventures. I don't remember much about the books I borrowed except for the Church Mouse Series and the Mish Mash series (cats and dogs) and of course, now, I collect books that I am interested on my own large shelf and read them when I want. I heart reading.

Ayak said...

There's an award for you over at mine if you'd like it


Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

Hi, just catching up on reading. Enjoyed reading V's post of summer. Your post brought back such a good memory! A bookmoble would arrive at the school I once attended in elementry. It was such a wonderful experience and I found such wonderful things to read! Have a great weekend. blessings,Kathleen

Anonymous said...

NETLS (Northeast Texas Library System) has bookmobiles in the larger cities. I wouldn't know this ordinarily, but I go to the meetings representing my local library. I find out lots of cool stuff at those meetings. Things like everyone that cares about the library needs to support it in some way. They are competing with the internet, Kindle, eBooks, etc., which takes away library clients. We need our libraries. Good post.

kath001 said...

I was a latchkey kid, so our local library being a few blocks from my home was a gift from Heaven. I was allowed to walk and spend hours in the modern building full of books. I loved the swoosh of the sliding doors, entering into the cool interior, carrying a stack of books to a comfy chair. I loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series the best

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I loved the library --especially in the summer when there was time for leisurely reading! I loved the Marguerite Henry books - I think we both read them all! And then when we were teenagers we would go downtown at night to the library in your gold Firebird. Remember that?

Happyone :-) said...

I lived in a little town growing up and would walk uptown to the library which was quite small. The librarian knew me by name and I had many happy times there. :-) I've always loved to read!!

Sumandebray said...

Now it is digital library that is taking over the traditional libraries. Not to mention the google.....
the power of internet .... this has opened a whole new world of readers and writers

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