Tag Archives: libraries

Ode to Libraries

Carnegie Free LibraryI often insist to people who ask about my early education that Catholic school was just fine for preparing me in the ways of the three R’s, even if I did believe, upon high school graduation, that the world consisted of Catholics, Jews, and protesters. I could diagram my sentences, perform passable algebraic calculations, type 85 words per minute, and name every state capitol city (Trenton! Montpelier! Madison!). But more importantly I had a curiosity for learning and wanted to get the hell out of Dodge. For while parochial school had some fine qualities for me the student, it certainly lacked in other areas, like its library.

I read through most of the sections by 5th grade, and I only started at that school as a third-grader. Soon enough I was pestering my mother to get a Princeton Public Library card, and devouring books on maritime history, the American Civil War, young adult fiction, and anything by Stephen King. Now there were too many books for me to read, but I took that as a challenge instead of demotivation. Nothing suited a precocious child more than the idea that the world’s knowledge is just at their fingertips. Read More…

The Case of the Stolen DVDs

Old timey view of Alder Street in Walla WallaIt won’t come as a shock to anyone who knows me that I am a fan of public libraries, or at least, it shouldn’t. I nurtured a morbid fascination with maritime disasters at the Princeton public library when I went to grade school in the town, and although the East Windsor, NJ library paled in comparison by almost any measure, but most notably with regard to architecture, selection of books, and proximity to PJ’s Pancake House (I’ll always love you, PJ’s!), I still spent a lot of time there after school. I’d bike over and fret once I’d selected a couple of tomes that I’d left my bag at home, so it was a careful pedal back home, balancing the books on the handlebars. Any library beat my primary school’s library, really, which was limited to a tiny room on the top floor of the school, the books crammed in so tightly that one considered doing hand exercises in one’s spare time so as to improve one’s finger strength for wrestling them off the shelves. Read More…

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