Once every two weeks each summer, Mama Duck Morris and her four ducklings would waddle to the park, but not to swim in the pond, because there wasn’t one. No, we went to immerse ourselves in the waters of literature. Shelley Public Library, magic land. Outside, it was a small, one room log cabin, left over I’m sure from when the land was not a park. It stood behind the swings and slippery slide and under huge shade trees, no doubt as old as the cabin. Inside it seemed like Doctor Who’s Tardis, bigger on the inside than the outside.
The first thing that hit you was the smell, a lovely, comforting combination of wood, paper, leather and dirt from the plants on the windowsills. Then you heard the window fan that kept the place a little cooler than the outside. Then you saw the librarians desk, usually with books on top, and the librarian’s smile. (honestly, I don’t remember her name or what she looked like, but I remember we knew her from church. Of course in Shelley, pretty much everybody knew everybody from church.) Then, you saw books. Books on shelves lining the log walls, books on shelves between the walls, books on tables wherever they fit. There was just enough room to squeeze down the aisles and find the magic wrapped in hard cover.
The best part was watching the librarian stamp the card from the book’s front cover pocket. That meant it was yours for two whole weeks. The worst part was you could only check out six. I could read six books in six days. What was I to do the rest of the two weeks? So, I read them again. I wanted to read them all! I actually did read all the Children’s books about horses. I came close to reading all the Science Fiction too.
Photo credit as above.
Eventually that stuffed little house became too stuffed for the words. When the bank moved down Main Street, the Library moved to Main Street. It lost the atmosphere but gained a whole lot more magic wrapped in hard cover.
It moved yet again and now it is down the street and around the corner in the old hardware and paint store. Now instead of decorating your house, you can decorate your mind. One of Mama Duck’s ducklings is now the Library Storyteller. Patricia’s handy work, “Barbie” and friends dressed in homemade costumes, illustrate library display cases and story time.