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Finding magic in the stacks
By Jane Hilken
Libraries are magical places for me. The idea of space dedicated to rows upon rows of books is enchanting…the possibilities seem endless.
Growing up on a farm in southern minnesota during the 1940’s and 50’s, I can only describe the library in our town as…well, small. But the sights and sounds, the scents of this enviroment were unlike any other space that I was familiar with. Books filled the room. And there were sections especially for me! it was a young reader’s paradise. The rules were simple: you can chose books to take home—just bing them back when you finish with them. Magical stuff.
A while ago, I needed to gather information from a pricey reference. My local librarian told me that while our library didn’t have that book, she would find a copy for me. A quick computer search located it at a St. Paul branch library. It would be waiting for me there! I drove to the building; the librarian recognized my name, handed the book to me, scanned my library card and said I could just drop it off at my library when I was finished with it.
Is that magical or what? In our economic system, is there another situation where you’re invited to take something home, use it for whatever you need it for, and when you’ve finished—just bring it back? Libraries are still enchanted places.