The Love of Libraries

  • 7 Replies

I like vanilla

  • Member
  • 193
    • View Profile
The Love of Libraries
« on: October 26, 2017, 01:23:08 AM »
In a different thread, I became the third person to post about a shared love of libraries. So, I am starting a new thread to avoid completely usurping the original topic (the original is a very interesting one on how people chose their OOTF names).

So, this new thread is for a shared love of libraries.

For me, libraries have always been a safe haven. I learned to read before pre-school (I was about 2 yr. old at the time). I have been reading pretty much continuously ever since; I even read in the bath tub (but not the shower, even with my waterproof e-book reader  ;)). One of the positive things my NM did for us (me and my siblings) was to take us to the library from an early age. I have had a library card as long as I can remember.

Of all my siblings, I think the love of libraries only stuck with me. Overall, a positive factor in my life. In the summer breaks from school, where there was no where else to escape from my NM, abusive older brother, and needy younger siblings (I was the parentified one who raised them), there was the library. I would ride my bike there at least once a week, spending hours browsing the shelves, smelling the books, enjoying the quiet, safe calmness of the space. I would walk the rows of shelves sometimes picking a book at random on a topic completely unfamiliar to me. Other times, I would head straight for my favourite sections to see what was new by my favourite authors. Usually it was a bit of both. I would often spend the day there, just enjoying being at the library. Then, eventually I would have to go home, but I would do so with stacks of books that I would gobble up in hidden corners of my parents' home, and large backyard.

Now, I still love libraries. I still enjoy the smell of books and the quiet calmness and the ability to walk in and learn about anything that catches my curiosity. Books and libraries for me have been ways of feeding my hungry brain (hungry for knowledge, ideas, fantasies, etc.), ways to escape from my circumstances (less so now as I am healing), and safe havens of peace and quiet and enjoyment. The only word I can think of is 'angenehm' - it is a German word which really has no equivalent in English but is a mix of 'pleasant, enjoyable, good-feeling, comfortable, agreeable', and similar words. In short, the way that I feel in libraries.

Libraries.  :cloud9:

Re: The Love of Libraries
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 07:46:47 AM »
Nice to hear how much of a positive thing libraries were for you, Vanilla. :)
I would read a lot during my child years, I think I enjoyed it. At school during recess and lunch I was always sitting in the library reading something. Although certain people around made me kind of avoid the library later on and my reading addiction turned into more of a work addiction. I wish I could read more but the concentration and motivation just isn't there unfortunately.
And I think I was hated by the librarians cause I was always handing books in late lol. And I damaged two books accidentally... Oops.



  • Member
  • 1825
  • I did not wish to live what was not life
    • View Profile
Re: The Love of Libraries
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 04:26:12 PM »
The first public library I ventured into, at around age 8 or 9, quickly became my real home whenever I could get there. I didn't have a major exposure to reading until then; the parents never read to me, there were few books around.

Reading wasn't part of the FOO's makeup. But once I found that library, I began to slip into a new world. Looking back, libraries became a focal point in my finding any realistic escape from the FOO madness and and the abuse-ridden religious schools they condemned me to.

Every Saturday became an expedition into my new world. I was in total awe of this place, not the least in encountering the librarians who were there. As in--they helped me, without judgement or disdain; and seemed to genuinely care. Alas, by that time I didn't trust many people; still don't, but they remain the exception.

Of course the main attraction was all those books, in all subjects--non-fiction was a draw, as I already lived in a too-real horror story. I began to browse, and then lug my favourites back to that far from cozy home environment. There I hauled them up a rickety stairs to an unused attic room which served as my in-house retreat from the stressful parts of that place, and very few adults would risk dodging the cobwebs to get to me there.

In summer, it was very hot up there, but I didn't care. Because when there, just opening those books became a calming influence--looking at them, savouring these new-found treasures; then venturing into their contents, learning about a world I wasn't allowed to know existed. Discovering those out-there alternatives became the rare joys of an anguished child. No wonder I became known as a dreamer--a distinct no-no to the ultra sad, serious adults in my 'real' world.

The books, and the grand place with the friendly people from which they came, literally saved me. Afterwards, as soon as I hit college I began haunting used bookstores, and there too I found some of the few people I felt comfortable around.

This includes meeting a gentleman who became my 'pseudo-father', for lack of a better term. He owned a used bookstore and was a role model I'd never had. Soon I met his wife--a librarian!  Later on, they even retired in the rural region I'd gone to live in. Their book-filled house was located within an hour's drive from my own home, whose main feature is still the reading material found in every glance around the place. Visitors (few and far between) are likely drawn to the appealing rustic exterior but for me it's the book-filled interior that makes it home.

Alas, I'm far removed from proximity to a public library. My in-house library would probably rival any small-town collection in the materials found here (thanks to mail order). Psychologically, one can speculate that this addiction perfectly fits my "freeze" personality. Oh for sure, but there's more positive than negative for someone whose early life was saved by finding libraries. It's the one area no one could ever make me feel bad or guilty about (people sure try--readers are very suspect in this culture). I guess I'm still living per my 2 addictions--reading and finding peace with myself.   



  • Member
  • 1104
  • The Cautious Thrillseeker
    • View Profile
Re: The Love of Libraries
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2017, 04:44:59 AM »
Haha. I didnt expect someone would make an entire thread inspired by my post about my love of reading. Thats what I like about this place. People respond to your ideas rather than just the discussion question. It shows people actually listen and well, Ive felt misheard all my life. Nice to see other people find comfort in books too. :-)

Books in my darkest times   werent an escape to me into a world of wonder and hope. Books were made to discover more about reality as it is whether how harsh life was or not. I was intensely afraid of the unknown and to deal with that fear, I had to make the unknown known.

And so I researched to gain skills with managing anxiety and depression, learn how to focus and discipline myself, learn logical and creative problem solving and learn whatever I could by whatever  horrors society could have in store for me. My parents didnt teach me these things and I believed I was on my own in this world so I raised myself with whatever I could read.

Reading for what I was afraid of was calming but many gimes I forced myself to learn harsh truths to the point of tears. Yet these harsh truths were a greater comfort than the confusing mess of information in the world. I feared uncertainty a possible good or bad more than certain negativity I could more clearly make sense of.

But later on, stories with immortal robed beings and energy blasts that introduced me more about friendships. There were stories of hands tightly held as who they loved were dying on the bed that taught me about acceptance. There were high thrill stories of catching a criminal on the run or swordfights at the edge of the waters that inspired me to try as hard. And long story short I talked about my problems and felt warmth for people for the first time in several years.

Id read my share of non fiction too even the ones meant for adults. People say reality is boring sometimes theyd much rather live lives that involves things like time traveling, aliens, magic and so on. But if you think about it we already live in a fantasy and sci fi story. People hundreds of years ago would think our technology and lifestyle were pure sorcery or some distant science fiction. To us, a world where everyone has a superpower are a world of superheroes but to them, its just everyday abilities. To me, we are those superheroes.

Ive read the magic of how the simplest human common sense all work in some complex way that engineers have so much trouble making in their machines. Ive read of the alien world of things smaller than atoms and how their entire world of movement was different from ours. Ive read a grand legend about how a species that began as hunter gatherers in Africa somehow turned themselves into a globalizing force of nature in the world. Ive read of invisible gods commanding in the interplay of how power and money influenced every moment of our lives. Non-fiction often had more defined rules, more certainty, more accuracy and (for the best authors) more respect for logical simplicity they made sense of things in a way I often aimed for in my fears of a confusing world.

Whenever I get discouraged in life, I sometimes imagine someone asking me a certain question. Youve had emotional breakdowns every single day. Youve supressed despair, terror, rage, hatred for yourself and others. You were dealing with your problems on your own for almost your entire life out of lack of trust for anyone. What made you keep going?

My life and the world might both be terrible, but Id give both of them this, they were, are and always will be interesting. The most difficult problems are the most fascinating to analyze and solve.

You see. . . I wanted to see . . what happened next.

« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 05:23:27 AM by DecimalRocket »



  • Member
  • 526
    • View Profile
Re: The Love of Libraries
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2017, 06:42:30 PM »
i like vanilla, thanks so much for the thread  :)
I remember reading the cute book "Matilda" when I was a kid and thinking:
1) whoa, all of that family dynamic is familiar.
2) so is the tottering home with huge piles of books and then vanishing into them as often as possible.
3) so is reading the entire library, systematically, unrelated to "age appropriateness".

That feeling you have when you open a new book you never read before ("Is this another new friend?") and especially one you've read 982399999 times already ("Ah, old friend... how have you been? I need comfort.") It's maybe a bit sad that I used books as friends but they've kept me alive so many times.
Now that I think of it, it's also the hushed tones of libraries that I loved. You know - it's far less likely to be verbally abused or threatened when it's silent.

I too started reading when I was a toddler, can't remember when. I came from a reading FOO so it was considered acceptable to read, and I took every advantage. It was an acceptable way to dissociate. I've rarely seen a book I didn't instantly gulp down. I still have the same reaction to books.

DecimalRocket, I felt the same. I learned about the world others live in from my books. A lot was alien to me; quite often I'd gloss over the emotional parts thinking "beh... not for me" but it did leave me asking questions. Imagining the little day to day exchanges of trust that I never knew or had. Finding role models in characters, because I didn't have them in real life. And I read about every "ology" out there, and historical stories of suffering and pain and existential questions. Things that made me feel less lost and gave me a sense of generic suffering.

Some books also became truth-sayers for me. I remember in one book I found a description of something unspeakable that had happened to me as a child, and I imagined pointing to the paragraph in order to tell adults. No one ever asked, so it stayed a fantasy but it gave me words I didn't have on my own. They held on to what I knew for me.

I've been unable to keep my library, now it's only an e-library. When I had a paper one everyone had an opinion. It made me different - people would browse and judge me by it, or dislike me just for having it - it led to so much emotion. But now it's all invisible like me.




  • Member
  • 14
  • This is where I draw the line
    • View Profile
Re: The Love of Libraries
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 11:57:58 PM »
Books as a way to self-educate:

I can so much relate to that. My family only had one bookshelf so it was the library too. Although I am with woodsgnome there, it was mostly nonfiction. I never really thought of it but it was possibly the same reasons. It never crossed my mind that I might have avoided fiction deliberately. That's an interesting imput, so thank you for the thought!

Speaking about German words that are hard to translate: Sachbuch is another one. It is pretty much that odd German love for boring documentaries. Only that someone wraps the same content with a book cover rather than filming it. Popular science but served just as dry as any German science book (and they are good with that since they believe that it is not good science if the reader enjoys reading it). As the years passed my picks got more and more academic and at some point I decided I had to go to university no matter what. (imagine all the books they must have!). Much to the horror of teachers and parents I was stubborn enough to make it happen.
My little library was my most priced possession. As a teenager I even managed to run away from home with my own weight in books on me so mother couldn't take revenge: 3 months of just me, my tent and my books...
At university I first got ridiculed by more posh students for not having all the expensive books I needed. But I got incredibly lucky. An antiquarian took pity in me. He possibly sensed that the love for my field was genuine and that I couldn't afford the better books. So he started collecting books for me. When I entered his shop he always had a whole bag of books waiting for me. It was much later when I realised that he sold me very rare and expensive books for 1-2$ each. I  knew they were worth much more than what he charged but it was a shock to learned how much more. He was indeed a rare example of a true altruist who crossed my path.
So all in all: yes a library is a safe space in a chaotic world. I know why I wish to become a historian: me, my archive, my cup of tea and one meter of nuclear proof concrete  between me and the rest of mankind -if that doesn't sound like a real plan... ;D
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 12:20:43 AM by RedRat »



  • Member
  • 7077
  • learn something from everything
    • View Profile
Re: The Love of Libraries
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2017, 07:49:27 PM »
i didn't grow up with books in the house, but i found a home in the neighborhood library.  hours and hours spent touching book covers, pages, absorbing those fabulous words, dissolving myself into the stories.  i was much about magic (of life) and fantasy - alice in wonderland is still my favorite, and i have several copies in my room here.  harry potter became my favorite as an adult.

i saw that there are now candles that smell like libraries and books.  altho i use my computer a lot, i can't imagine having to use one to read a book on.  to me, books are to be felt, handled, become a part of me.  i can lose myself in books, like i dove thru the pages.

reading, to me, is a sacred pursuit.  i will hate the day that libraries disappear. 



  • Member
  • 2689
    • View Profile
Re: The Love of Libraries
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 06:06:32 AM »
I adore that this thread was created. Libraries and books were such an escape and inspiration to me, and still are. I am forming a career because of books I have read, and what they showed me. It has inspired my whole life venture. Truly it helped keep me alive as a kid too. Always grateful there were other worlds to go to

I love reading about how books, and libraries were such wonderful places for all of you. Thank you for sharing