Posts Tagged ‘picture books’

I got to spend my day playing with books.

A few times through the year I volunteer in the library at my kids’ school and I essentially go and do whatever the librarian tells me to do.  Sometimes I get to order new books, sometimes I get to unpack boxes of new books when they arrive (pretty much my version of Christmas morning!) and sometimes, like today, I help out in the stacks, organizing and re-arranging.

Today in particular I was re-arranging the picture book section, moving over and spacing out the books to make room for new books that are expected to arrive and be in place for the start of the next school year.

I love books.

I love books more than just about anything in the world.  I can’t remember a time before books were in my life.  I remember my mom surprising me after a bad day at school by sneaking the newest Babysitters’ Club book under my pillow.  I remember going through book after book after book on our long family vacations with hours spent in the car.  I remember getting my own library card for the first time and feeling like I’d just been given the keys to the whole world.

Books were, and still continue to be, my escape.  The place I go when I’m sad, happy, bored.  The smell, the feel of the pages on my fingers, the excitement and wonder – where will this book take me today?

There really is something about the books you read as a child that change you in a way that few other books do.  For a little girl who often doubted her place in the world, who struggled with fitting in and growing up, the hours spent in the school library proved to be life-changing.

With all the beauty of hindsight, I know now that I probably should have become a librarian.  I mean it seems so obvious now but when I was 16 and deciding “what I wanted to be when I grew up” I could only see myself as a journalist (a researcher and writer for 60 Minutes if you want to get specific), but almost 20 years later I realize that my true love has always been books.  Now I dream of one day figuring out a way to spend my days flipping pages, closing my eyes and running my hands over the covers, soaking in all of the beauty of books, and managing to make a living at it.  I still haven’t discovered a way to make this a reality but for the time being, I spend a few hours every couple of months glimpsing a different life.

The librarian at my kids’ school always has so much to do and I try to help out as much as I can when I’m there but, to be honest, sometimes I find myself pausing for a few minutes, mid-task, to read.  There are so many amazing kids books and I wish I could just curl up in a chair with stacks of them piled at my feet, and read.  Read for hours and hours and hours, making notes of which ones I know my kids would love, which ones I would recommend to friends, to family, which ones I know I have to add to my own collection.

But work I did.  And as I worked, I pictured in my head a little girl coming into the library and sitting down just where I was sitting, moving her hands over the spines of the books, trying to decide which one to pick.  I imagined that because I spent a few hours today working in the library, that maybe she’d be able to find the one she was looking for; that the book she was meant to read at that particular moment would find her, and shape her to become the person she was meant to become.

As I sit at the computer hours later, my back is aching from moving piles of hardcover books from one set of shelves to another; my legs are sore from sitting and standing, over and over.  I worked for almost 6 hours and, in the grand scheme of things, I didn’t actually accomplish a whole lot.  But as I sat there on the carpet, making sure that all of the Fancy Nancy books are grouped together and that “One” is on the shelf next to “None” where it belongs, I felt a greater sense of accomplishment then I ever do pushing paper around on my desk.

I’m drained and physically tired but I also feel content, inspired and energized.

I spent the day playing with books…and it was pretty amazing.

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