Booking Through Thursday: Libraries

August 22, 2008 at 5:05 am | Posted in Book Blather | 1 Comment

Here is my response to this week’s Booking Through Thursday:

My earliest memory of the library is not actually the first time I went to one.  I remember my mom picking me up from kindergarten, along with a friend who lived in our apartment complex, and saying she had a surprise, that we were going to the library.  I was embarrassed that my friend would think I wanted to go there, while also excited about the trip.  This was back in the days when the cards were made of manila paper, with a metal plate that had the card number embossed on it.

After that, probably most of my memories involve libraries!  I’m such an habitué of the downtown branch that one of the librarians writes down some of my selections to read later.  I introduced another to LibraryThing.  They ask me how my latest knitting project is going.

I have a funny and odd memory of a library, but I warn you that it’s PG-13 at least.

I was a senior in high school, on a rare trip to the main branch of the Multnomah County Library (supposedly the third largest municipal library in the country).  This involved a 45-minute bus ride each way and being alone downtown after dark, and let’s just say I didn’t get to do it as often as I wanted, though I got my card there when I was about 12.  This time I was up on the third floor, in the Periodicals Room.  This was before the remodel, when there was still scaffolding holding up the walls and the marble staircase was pink instead of black.  The Periodicals Room was always the quietest, with the most empty tables, and I needed to study for my Japanese final.

I sat at a table alone.  At the next table sat a man, somewhat scruffy looking, facing away from me.  At the table beyond him sat a group of junior high school kids.  I settled in to flip through my kanji cards.

Some time later, I heard frantic giggling from the junior high table.  I looked up to see what they were laughing at.  The man in front of me was holding his arms out in a peculiar manner.  I focused, and realized he had a centerfold open!  He had the entire year’s magazine case of Playboy magazine at the table with him.  And he was scooting himself back and forth, back and forth, in the chair.

I looked away, my first thought one of surprise that the library stocked Playboy.  My second thought was that I should probably pack it up and go home, which I did.  (And of course I got an A on my test).


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  1. At first I thought that you meant it was a high school library, but when I reread your statement, I realized that it was a public library, which of course, is much more liberal.

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