Do you remember the first book you bought for yourself? Or the first book you checked out of the library? What was it and why did you choose it?
The teachers and the librarian, Mrs. Denney, made a big deal of our first trip to the school library in first grade when we could check out books. I remember being very excited about the whole thing, parading from our classroom to the library, tamping down enthusiasm so that I could be as quiet as instructed, lining up at the desk to get our books stamped. But I don’t remember what book I checked out.
I don’t remember the first book I checked out at the public library or the first book I bought either, but here’s a first memory that I do have. I remember the first book I checked out from the adult room at the public library. I had read my mother’s copy of Little Women and I wanted more Louisa May Alcott. The children’s area in our public library was quite small at that time, one set of shelves along the wall opposite the librarian’s desk, so the novels that we would now label Juvenile or Young Adult were shelved with the general fiction.
It was just a short foray into the adult room that I made at first, the As were right near the door. I checked out Little Men and then read my way through the rest of the Alcott books before getting braver and moving farther into the room. Next up, I read all the volumes in a display on a table of Emilie Loring books. Later, I made my way all the way to the back wall and read my way through Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series. All of which makes me sound older than I am — our public library had a nice collection of older romance novels written before I was born. I experienced Loring as if they were historical novels even though they were meant to be contemporary when they were written.