Down the block, around the corner and down the next block was a building I visited frequently as a child. It was old, small and smelled of the many books that filled it. When we moved to Delmar right before I began second grade, I was thrilled to learn the public library was just around the corner from my home.
Even at a young age I was a voracious reader and read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. Going to the library was one of my favorite activities. I could walk or ride my bike. My memories are still tremendously vivid. The location of the 921 books (biographies) was between the adult section and the young adult section. I systematically worked my way through those books alphabetically. I’m thankful to this day that it has enabled me to answer many questions while playing Trivial Pursuit. After all, who else knows anything about Stephen Farragut?
Books were, and are, magical. So many doors to my imagination were opened as a result of the hours I spent in our local library. But I also played on the grounds of the library. Swinging upside down from the bike rack was a favorite activity. Behind the library was a sloping lawn complete with a small stream. We used to hunt tadpoles in that stream and on more than one occasion my friends and I packed lunches and had picnics back there. We used to picnic in the woods behind the Middle School too until some guy exposed himself to us. Kind of scary. But that’s an entirely different story.
The library moved to a new location in 1976, the year of my high school graduation. It then became the home of the school district offices. Little did I know I would become a teacher and be hired by my alma mater. It allowed me to be in the very same building many more times but I always thought of it as the old library rather than the district offices. Amazing that one building would occupy only two identities during my lifetime.
And now, it is descending into nothingness. I’m not a huge Bob Dylan fan but he is an amazing songwriter and is correct in saying, “the times they are a’ changing.” I accept change but I don’t always like it much.