You Were My First Love

Everyone remembers their first love.

firstloveFirst best friend

Cute (or handsome) teacher

The only one who “got” you

The collegian


Given opportunity, we might try to find them again.

find meCalling cards

Autograph books




If especially bold, we might drive by their house.

first house love

This summer, I rediscovered my first love: the library.

Honesdale Library
Public Library
Honesdale, PA

My hometown library contained all the charm, character, and mystery of a 100+ year old home. I adored the card catalog – every book condensed in neat little boxes. I learned Library of Congress designations before I could read most of the books. The high water mark of the big flood of ’42 was still visible on the walls. Each room was its own section; no getting lost in this library. In the hall, a wide staircase to the forbidding upstairs, off-limits to regular patrons. In the front hall, the television that stood for years until my friend C_____ bought it for $20. I wonder if he ever replaced the missing tubes?

The big library in Scranton – in my mind a fortress – with two separate buildings: one for kids and one for adults. The first time someone told me I was too young to be in the adult section. The joy and wonder of “getting lost” in the ironwork stacks. Knowing the library better than my teachers for the annual research trip. My first copy card. Learning microfilm and microfiche.

Scranton PA Public Library
Public Library
Scranton, PA

bookstack1I loved to read. My first book report – given in the second grade – was Moby Dick (unabridged, of course). In the fourth grade I explained the symbolism of Snowball in Animal Farm. I read political theory and philosophy while my classmates struggled with Little House on the Prairie. My parents told me that during one PTA, a teacher said I shouldn’t act so smart. Apparently I made the rest of the class feel stupid by using the word “doubloon” in a sentence. We were discussing Treasure Island.

But along the way,  I stopped loving making time for books. In pursuing education, I stopped reading for fun. Well, at least during the school year. The only books I remember reading for personal pleasure between 2003 and 2008 were Charlotte’s Web and The Silmarillion, both in German. I’m sure there were books I read – some I even wanted to read – I just don’t remember them.


For the last few years, I’ve saved up and bought the books I wanted to read. But I forgot about the library. And so, several weeks ago, short of cash but long in the To-Be-Read list, I went to my local library.

New Bern NC Library
Public Library
New Bern, NC

It’s not like the libraries of my childhood. It’s small(er), but maybe that’s because I’ve grown. It was obviously built – or at least renovated – to be a library. Two large open rooms and a smaller local history/microfilm room. No chance to get lost in the stacks, just look down the aisle. But still, it’s a library. And I’ve discovered the books call to me here just as well. It’s love, rekindled.

(but not on a kindle)




4 thoughts on “You Were My First Love

  1. I loved going to the library every week when I was a kid and checking out as many books as I could carry home, reading them all in a week, then bringing them back and doing it again. Libraries are special places, aren’t they?

    I have to say, though, I love my Kindle. I don’t have room in my house for all of the books I’ve downloaded and read since I got my first Kindle a few years ago. That’s just me, though. I know others get passionate about Kindles vs. physical books, but I just think people should do what works for them.

    And I love the photos.


  2. Since my childhood, libraries have always been a sacred place. At times they served has havens from the outside world. The knowledge they contained in all their books I wanted!

    I became an avid book collector in childhood also; which prompted my parents to have built a mini library in my bedroom. One entire wall was dedicated to the project and upon completion I filled it with many books.

    I’m happy to know that someone else had the affinity for Moby Dick at a young age, as did I; now I know I’m not the only one!

    The photographs are beautiful and the post was extremely easy to relate with; which I’m certain comes from shared memories of fondness for libraries and books! .


  3. It’s sad to admit that while I love to read, I just don’t do it very much at all. Shameful I know. I think these days it’s partly due to writing so much (as I do it for a living) so reading gets thrown by the wayside. I think that’s part of why I’ve enjoyed discovering blogging. My rut has taken me away from it for a while but as I’m refunding myself and WordPress, I hope to make my way back to the blogs a lot more BUT also to more books. I have so many books I need to read. I’m getting there. I’m headed on vacation Friday so maybe it’ll be a good time to do some reading….between all the visits with friends and family I will have to do lol. 🙂 I will also say this – while I may not read much these days, I do love it. I loved libraries and doing research and learning. I loved getting lost in those aisles. My favorite place growing up was The Tattered Covered Book Store in Denver. That place was gigantic! I loved knowing there were three or four levels filled with books. I could just wander and never get bored. Fabulous place. This is another great read. 🙂


  4. My love of libraries began before I was born. My dad was one of seven children whose mother went to the library every Saturday and checked out books of all sorts for her children to read. The love of reading blossomed in my dad and he passed it down to me. When I was three years old he read Kipling’s Just So Stories to me. Thus I became a life-long reader and lover of libraries, and passer-down of this love to my sons and grandchildren.


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