Recently, I was with a friend rifling through my wallet when I pulled out a plastic white card.  I smiled with glee and said “oh, great, I found it”!  She responded “what did you find”?  I smiled and said proudly, “my library card.  I thought I had lost it but here it is.”  Before I could blink she snatched the card I have held in my possession since I was a teenager, covered with stains created from excessive use and love and burst into laughter.  Crestfallen, I asked her what she found so funny about my library card and she replied while wiping away her tears that nobody uses the library anymore and my card was so old she was surprised they still accepted it.  Then, she promptly whipped out her new high-tech graphic art covered card and said “see Denise, I don’t really use my library card but at least it was created in this decade.”  I was crushed.  But I realized that I wasn’t hurt because she was laughing at my excessively loved-on card.  I was crushed because she was laughing at me because I still use the library.  The library.  I looked at her reeling from laughter and stated, “you know what, laugh at me if you want to but the library is your friend.”

It amazes me that people don’t use the library but choose to rely solely on the instant gratification of the internet and hi-tech handheld devices for their research or their extra-curricular reading.  When did it become outdated or unstylish to walk around with a book from the library in your arms?  I remember going to the library as a kid.  I would walk around in awe looking at the shelves and shelves of books calling out to me to take them home.  I used the library to conduct vital research for writing my fourth grade book reports and my college term papers and each and every time it never let me down.  It didn’t crash, tell me a book I needed was on back order or make me pay a fee in order to access a “sneak peak” of a books contents.  There were people, live people on every floor eager to help me find what I needed and never put me on hold or told me to wait only to never return.  If the book I was seeking was unavailable, the live person I was speaking with gladly contacted another library and the book was found for me.

The library makes me feel loved, appreciated and provides a book on every topic to match whatever mood, hobby, emotion or academic odyssey I feel like exploring at the moment.  The library was the one place I could get my parents to stop their activity of the moment and drive me to  and when I was older if I told my parents I wanted to go to the library, they would willingly relinquish their car keys so I could drive myself and no one would ever doubt or question my intentions.   It’s the place where I could curl up by myself or hang out with friends without adult harassment or suspicious stares.

The library and I have and will always be friends.  It’s where I get my books on CD for travelling on road trips, reserve quite rooms for meetings and have attended the most amazing book readings, gallery shows and lectures.  I can always find what I need in the library and it’s been the place I visit when I need to be inspired.

I love the library.  It has and will always be my friend.