After mentioning in a post that I was making a trip to the library, a couple of people wrote to say how much they loved going to the library. One lucky lady said hers was right down the street, which made me think of a time when I was young that we lived right down the street from our library. We weren’t there very long, but I remember a heavenly summer where I read from dawn to dusk, every day, every minute I could spare. At least that’s the way I recall that summer. The library had printed up sheets of “bookworms”, each with a space for 20 stickers, one sticker for each book we read that summer. I think some of the kids were doing it as an assignment, but I was doing it for the sheer pleasure. The equivalent for me of giving a heroin addict all he can use and rewarding him for shooting up! And I got extra credit in school! I forget how many bookworms I filled up that summer, but it was a lot.
For me that will always be the “summer of the library”. First I read all the horse books, then I went through all the scifi and then I started on the mysteries. Granted it was a smallish library, but I soon graduated to the big time – the main library downtown. This one was a bus ride away, but I was a very mature and responsible 11 year old, so I was permitted to make the trip on my own. The regular driver and I got to be good friends, and he kept an eye on me. There was the added bonus, when taking this trip, of being able to visit my mom at her office. I’d stick my head in the door, and if she was busy, I’d duck out and go home. If she had a few minutes, I’d go in and visit and look around. It never crossed my mind that I, like my mother, would spend my working life in an office. I was going to be a doctor, or a detective, or a stewardess on a big plane. Funny, isn’t it, how very differently your life can turn out from what you’re expecting?
Now I’m here in Oregon, and I can take advantage of the Central Library in downtown Portland. The picture above is of the grand staircase, which was restored, along with the rest of this beautiful building, in 1993. It was designed by A. E. Doyle and built in 1913. The picture to the right was taken after the building was brought back to its former glory. If that wasn’t enough, an eco-roof was recently installed and had already helped to reduce heating and cooling costs. Could you call it a building with beauty and brains? In any event, should you find yourself in our fair city, you should pay this lovely library a visit. You’ll be glad you did.
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