Friday, March 13, 2015

2 Reasons I Love My Library--and Happy Poetry Friday!

Howdy, Campers!

Happy Poetry Friday!  The link to today's PF host is below.

This round, we at TeachingAuthors have decided to trot out the topic, Ways I Use the Library, and I'm the first to saddle up.  My horse is a little rebellious today, so I'm going to change the topic slightly to: Reasons I Love My Library.

How do I love libraries? Let me conjure up memories:

The word library
sends me back to Franklin Elementary School and its smoky-voiced librarian, Mrs. Orbach.  I will always be grateful to her for breaking the rules and letting me check out The Complete Sherlock Holmes 13 times.

The word library stands me next to my mother, choosing Wind, Sand and Stars for me as if she were sharing an important secret from her childhood.  This sacred act in the Yuba City, California library is tied to that cool oasis from Yuba City’s heat—the downstairs rooms, dark walls painted during the WPA…and that good book-composty smell.

I love my library for a raft of reasons, but I especially love libraries (1) as a quiet place to write without holing up in my house, and (2) because they hold a treasure trove of audiobooks. Joy, joy, joy--audiobooks!

I love being read to. I'm probably an audio learner.

from (As I am posting this photo, I just learned today is National Earmuff Day.)
I remember Mom cracking up as she read to us from Kids Say the Darndest Things, Archie & Mehitabel, The Joys of Yiddish, Catcher in the Rye, and any stories by Thurber, Dorothy Parker, Mark Twain and Molly Ivins.  My teacher and mentor, poet Myra Cohn Livingston, always set aside time in class to read poetry.  Nothing was required of us.  Listen. Absorb. Enjoy.

These days, the word library means a place I go to write.  I like being surrounded by books and by quiet bookpeople working and reading.  A true Southern California commuter, when I walk back to my car, my arms are full of audiobooks, to sustain me on my long drives to my writing group and to UCLA. ( In one just-before-summer post, I recommend three audiobooks...and today I'd add Deborah Wiles' Each Little Bird That Sings to that trio--all from my lovely local library.)

Here's a library poem from my 2011 Poetry Month blog:

The story behind the poem: I was in the library, and as the librarian waved her wand over an audiobook, I heard it click…I began wondering how many sounds there were in a library…including the sounds a book’s story makes in one’s head.

by April Halprin Wayland

The electric door is opening, it sucks in outside air.
A carpet rubs as a patron sits down on his chosen chair.

The blonde librarian waves her wand—I can hear it whisper-click
six times as it moves back and forth o’er six non-fiction picks.

There are sounds that bounce around the rows of all the Y.A. books
if you listen closely you can hear folks’ irritated looks

at that oops-he-forgot-to-turn-off-his-cell’s rock ‘n rolling ring
while on this page I hear the voice of Martin Luther King:

and as I read, “I have a dream” reverberates in my head
near Charlotte, who is loudly spinning words into her web.

There are sounds around this building, there are sounds in books like these.
It’s not quiet in the library and that’s okay by me.

(c) 2011 April Halprin Wayland, all rights reserved

It’s your turn. Take your notebook to a park or a restaurant or a school or the beach and write down the sounds.  It may help to close your eyes to hear them.  Select the most interesting; write a poem.

The host of Poetry Friday is our beloved Author Amok, Laura Shovan ~ thank you, Laura!

posted quietly by April Halprin Wayland and Eli, immersed in his favorite novel.


Author Amok said...

Aw, Eli is a dog after my own heart. Those old card catalogs always take me back. Libraries have changed and I love the way media specialists dive into what's new with enthusiasm.

Linda B said...

My students tell me that there is still a card catalog available at our main branch. We were talking about the browsing capabilities one day. Love that you work at a library. I live just a block away, but it is very busy, don't know if I'd get much work done, but it could be a time to listen just as you wrote, April. Fun to hear your memories.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

I remember checking out Sherlock Holmes over and over, too! I don't usually write in a library, but now I'm tempted to try again. I'm looking forward to weather that inspires writing outside!

Carmela Martino said...

Love your poem, April. Like JA, I don't usually write in the library, but you've inspired me to try.

Bobbi Miller said...

I loved this discussion. While I was growing up, I so depended upon the library for stories. I loved the Sherlock Holmes books, and read them over and over (to chirp JoAnn!) Kindred spirits!! And Eli!

CS Perryess said...

April - thanks for your library-loving post. I'm with you. I'll never forget "graduating" at our local public library from a little kid who could ONLY check out ten books at a time to a big kid who could get as many as he wanted.

Carol said...

This library loving granddaughter of a Chicago librarian loves your post! I go to the library when I need to work- headed there today on a beautiful sunny Saturday because I have to respond to student papers! My favorite place to sit is just away from the toddler section, because I can look up and see little ones falling in love with books in their parents laps. I may have to try to close my eyes and listen!

Mary Lee said...

Hooray for libraries!

jan godown annino said...

April, It's fun how current this appreciation is mentioning the electric door & the wand over the audio books. And it does make me think about the sounds in my libraries. Also I like your gift of the prompt of listening for sounds in other locales & seeing if they can whisper themselves into a poem.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

It's also interesting that every library has not only its own sounds, but its own character as well. Wonderful poem, April!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Dear Laura, Linda, JoAnn, Carmela, Bobbi, CD, Carol, Mary Lee, Michelle and Jan--aka Kind Commenters!

Apologies--I wrote a response to you several days ago...which I see never posted. Well, drat! Bobbi: Come, Watson, come--the game is afoot!

To those who haven't worked in a library--or at least not for a while: I commit to you that I'll work in the library for at least one day this week...join me?

Thanks for joining in the discussion!

Carla Killough McClafferty said...

Great post. Libraries are special places.