The library is truly a treasure

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The best things in life are free, including the services offered by our departmental libraries. I made this discovery a long time ago when I was a little kid, shortly after receiving my first library card.

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On one of my first visits to the children’s room at the Picton Public Lobrary, I picked out a book on the weather. For reasons unknown, colorful images of thermometers showing various temperature readings remain stuck in my mind to this day.

While I always received books for Christmas, it was in the library that I discovered the adventures of twins Bobbsey, Bert and Nan and Freddie and Flossie. Also here were the books by Maggie Muggins and Anne of Green Gables.

As I got older I read Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series and Albert Payson Terhune’s stories about his beautiful and courageous Collie dogs. Then came the books of Trixie Belden and The Mysteries of Nancy Drew. I was rarely without a book in my hand at this time.

My mother enjoyed reading very much as a child, but often struggled to make time for it. Her father died when she was only 14 and her widowed mother depended on her three children to help her cope with the workload. One of the tasks assigned to the mother was ironing. She told me that she often does this task with an open book at the end of the ironing board. It was then that she swore that one day her children would still have time to read. It was a promise she kept as I was encouraged to enjoy my books and rarely interrupted when my nose was buried in a mystery.

Around the age of 12, I was kicked to the adult library. My mom came up with some suitable author’s suggestions for a pre-teen and I remember reading a series of very boring novels written by an author named Grace Livingstone Hill. Somehow my mother failed to censor the Frank Yerby books that I often borrowed. Her heroines were much brighter than the blushing maidens of Livingstone Hill.

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For a while, I borrowed collections of short stories and poems as well as books on horse care from the library. Once, I even checked Crime and Punishment which I didn’t read to the end. My tastes were eclectic and each visit to the library was an invitation to explore new worlds.

In recent years, local libraries have offered more than just books. There is now a wide selection of DVDs, in addition to many programs suitable for a wide range of interests.

Last week I stopped by the Bloomfield Public Library, my first visit to the library since the start of the pandemic. Here I filled a large bag with DVDs and books and to my surprise I was told the cost was only $ 5. For far less than the price of a single paperback or DVD, I left with weeks of entertainment.

Better yet, I had the opportunity to say hello to Kate, one of my favorite librarians. Times have changed since I was a child, when all the words above a whisper met with warning looks or harsh “falls”. Our county libraries are very popular places for people today.

Many years ago my late husband Alan Capon had his wallet stolen. It was later recovered from the street where the thief discovered that like the Queen, Alan had never taken cash with him. Finding his wallet, my partner checked its contents and noted with relief that he still had his library card. To many this would have sounded like an odd remark, but to an avid reader it would have made perfect sense. A library card is a passport for a lifetime of travel and adventure, free on request.


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