One of my memories growing up was walking and walking everywhere! My mom would probably be embarrassed for me to talk about her but one of the greatest gifts she gave me and my younger brother, was that she didn’t drive us places, we walked. She didn’t have a car or start driving until we were much older. When my parents met, my mom lived in New York City and relied upon public transportation. Right before I started Kindergarten my family moved out of the city to an area where owning a car and driving were the norm. Luckily for my mom, we lived in the downtown section, not very far from the main street shops, restaurants, and storefronts. All were within walking distance to everything you really needed, and one of those places we walked to regularly was the public library. Our walks to the library always felt like an adventure, the library was in a historic single-family Victorian home that I loved visiting. In this library, the Children’s section was located on the second floor. I remember taking a narrow and long staircase to reach that floor. I even remember the sound of the stairs squeaking as I went up the steps. It always felt like I was entering an actual home and not a library, the childrens librarian even knew us by name and always warmly greeted my brother and I, it really felt like I belonged there. The public library became like a second home. I took this familiar and comfortable feeling for granted at the time, to me that was all I knew a library should be, a home with dusty shelves, creaky floors and big arm chairs for settling in to read for many hours. Not that far into the future libraries changed drastically and many became more industrial and moved into modern buildings suited better for tech than finding a little corner of the library to read. When I entered our brand-new public library as a teenager many years later, it felt empty and industrial with what I thought was too much artificial lighting for a place that should be a home. When I visited the children’s section, I immediately felt sorry for all the children that would grow up not knowing how magical and enchanting the original children’s library was. The library that opened the doors to my imagination and created a memory that would last a lifetime and to this day still has a lasting influence on my career.
This is an artist rendition of my childhood library, capturing it just as I remember. I feel lucky to have known the library when it was a warm and cozy victorian home. A place of imagination, wonder, knowledge and even comfort.
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