Take a stroll with me down memory lane ….
I remember when I was a youngster in school and whole classes would get turns going to the library to read or study. That experience was usually a little nerve-racking for timid little me. I was always so afraid I would accidentally make a noise, perhaps by dropping something or whispering too loudly to the person next to me. Those were the days when libraries were quiet places.
Decades later I used to take my children to the town library to borrow books. It was a small library then with that heady smell of old books, new books .. books, books, books. And it was so nice and quiet. I taught my little girls that we were not to talk out loud in there, even if it was only the librarian with us at any time. A library is a quiet place.
Now, let me tell you about my experience when I was in town for an afternoon one day last month.
After leaving my little Meyya with the groomer I had time to myself, so I decided to walk to the library. I had with me a list of books that I wanted to look for, hoping to borrow a few to see what’s new. When I walked into the library the first thing I noticed was the woman at the counter talking – loudly – to the two librarians. hmm I made my way to the children’s section where I attempted to find a book, any book, on my list. Over came a young mother and her little lad. She sat at a computer and began using it while her little guy wandered restlessly around looking at books, calling to her about them now and then, until finally he found a big book – somewhat advanced for him – which he brought to his mother. He asked her to read to him; she said no, she was busy but find one she would enjoy reading to him at home. She didn’t think he would like that one. (I privately wondered why he wouldn’t like it at home if he liked it there in the library. He seemed to want to learn about what it contained. ) She, in a normal speaking voice, proceeded to try to discourage him from choosing that book. He whined. loudly.
Both librarians were still busy so I finally gave up trying to locate any of the books on my list and sat at a table to read the novel I’d brought with me. Next thing I knew, the woman who was still at the counter called across the room to her friend to ask her something, and it continued. Oh my. Frustrated and annoyed I packed up my things and left, not finding out if they even have any of the books I was interested in borrowing.
My next stop was the bookstore. As soon as I walked in I felt my annoyance melt away … in the peaceful, quiet atmosphere. *sigh* That’s what I missed in the library. It didn’t have to be quiet in the bookstore and didn’t stay that way, but it was just so pleasant and peaceful. I was delighted to find two children’s books I’d heard about, one I read right there and reviewed on April 28, the other I purchased and will review next week.
Tell me, have you found a difference in your libraries, too? What’s happened to “Shhh, this is a library!”?
Perhaps this sign would make a difference:
I’ve noticed that many people don’t seem to know what to do with silence! They have to have noise of some kind, or don’t understand the lack of ‘loud’ is perfectly wonderful. What’s your opinion?
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)