It took time and persistence, patience and cunning. At the age of nine I had all of that plus moxie. Carefully, biding my time and picking up a random book, I kept watch from the edge of the pages. There was my chance! I slipped around the corner and moved from the children’s library into the “real library.”
For some reason I didn’t have to be quite as careful there for I was seldom chased out. Perhaps I was too small to be seen or had found the least perused corners to tuck into. Perhaps the library staff was too busy to see me. It didn’t matter; to be with all the real books was to be in heaven.
There were rules in my hometown library. Anyone under the age of 11 had to be in the children’s side, everyone else was free to roam the endless shelves of books on the other side. The side that was off-limits. The side I was not supposed to be in. But you can’t keep a determined reader, older than her years, away.
Thankfully, children’s books are significantly more than stories of helpless girls and hero boys, and fairy tales. Today the Young Adult category brings robust reading and transitions children into more mature story lines and situations appropriate for their age range. From there the entire world of books is open.
It‘s impossible to remember what books I was sneaking around to read but chances are among them was the work of Mary Roberts Rinehart. Known as America’s Agatha Christie, her novel The Circular Staircase (1908) made her famous, and many of her following books were best sellers. As a journalist, I was quite chuffed to discover that she had been a war correspondent at the Belgian front during WWI.
It has been many (many) years since I had to sneak around a library. This is good news, as the last time I did hide my sister and friends forgot about me and drove home, leaving me behind. You can imagine my mother’s horror when they showed up and I wasn’t with them.
How determined are you to read? Do you have to set aside time, or a minimum amount of pages to consume each week? Were you ever left behind at a library?