As a kid, one of my favorite places was the library. I was lucky in that I had two to choose from–the huge Troy Public Library and the much smaller Arthur Miller branch of the Warren Public Library. The Troy library was my home during my high school years, when I had to do extra research or look something up (no internet, kids!). But I grew up in the Warren library…a small, cozy branch that had a bunch of windows to let in sunlight, places to sit, and loads of books. I graduated from “kids books” to “chapter books” in that library. I discovered Nancy Drew books at that library. I photocopied a bunch of pictures of “women’s libbers” for a project in the second grade. It was a magic place for me.
Ann Arbor is extremely lucky to have an outstanding library system. I am beyond thrilled to be doing a speaking engagement at our downtown branch this Wednesday, December 17th at 7:00pm. I will be selling books and telling some fun (I hope!) history stories.
The day I got my first library card, I thought I was grown. My current library card occupies a spot of pride in my Pulp Fiction “Bad Motherfucker” wallet: it lives in front of my union card and above my debit card. And while I like the easy check out systems that we have, I do miss writing my name on the little index card and being able to see who had read the book before me. I miss the card catalogs, but I have to admit that the computerized systems are faster. I also love that our library lends out telescopes, artwork, CDs and musical instruments along with the usual books.
Libraries welcome everyone. You can go in and learn about just about anything you want. There are Polk’s Directories from before 1900. There are local history books (that really helped me write my book) and local maps that are fun to look at.If the bombs start falling, I am grabbing as much alcohol as I can get my hands on and heading south (for me) to 323 S. Fifth Avenue. If I have to go out, I might as well go out with a book in my hands. (And yes, I have extra pairs of contacts and glasses, just in case).
One of the stories I will tell on Wednesday will definitely include our friend, Junius Beal. Until 1857, his lovely house was located on the site of our library. (I guess I should say that our library is located on his homestead, shouldn’t I?!?!)
Take a look:
Junius loved him some
bicycles, I read. I must confess that I am barely able to ride a modern bicycle, let alone one like that!
Here is a picture of our library, a few years after it was built:
If you are coming in from out of town…don’t drive in that direction these days! The traffic goes the other way now!
Here is a picture of the library today:
I hope to see you on Wednesday evening!