Tuesday, August 16, 2016

For the Love of Libraries: My First Library

I love to read. From the time I was very young I had a bookshelf full of picture books that I would peruse daily. One morning I fell down the stairs with a stack of my favorite picture books and my beloved blanket underfoot. As a junior higher, I read voraciously. I usually had five to ten kid chapter books going at a time, neatly stacked on my bedside stand. I credit this love of reading to my mom, who read to me every night for many years. I also have early memories of going to my local public library and taking out books with her.
The old customs house in Waldoboro
housed the library from 1964 to 2007.

Because I love to read I also love libraries, as many readers do. I loved my first library. It was in an old, architecturally fascinating building that at one time was the customs house. It had large steel radiators, bookshelves crowded into every crevice, an old fashioned card catalog (one had to stand in a corner to search through it), and a real librarian's desk--a desk--where the librarian sat and said "Quiet please" when you came in through the large heavy black doors. I got my own paper library card with my number at a young age. I loved the smell of the place with its creaky floors and big windows. Downstairs was the adult fiction section, and, if I remember correctly, a long low shelf along the front wall that held books for preschool children (where I discovered beloved Richard Scarry favorites such as Cars and Trucks and Things that Go). Upstairs there were three rooms. One was the nonfiction room with a large heavy wood conference table surrounded by book shelves wrapped around the room and lighted by those tall dome-shaped windows, and, of course, heavy, old books. I spend many hours there researching for school papers (back before the Internet told us everything we need to know)! Another smaller room had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that were probably biographies and such. And in the back room were shelves of children's books and two more long kid-size tables with chairs in the center of the room.

According to the summer 2016 newsletter of the Waldoboro Public Library, the library opened on May 1, 1916, in the Willet Block. In 1964 it relocated to the former customs house. Today the building is owned privately. In 2007 the library was able to move into a beautiful brand new, bigger, but not too big, building up the road a bit. This building has large windows that let light in, a window seat, new shelving, a computer area, a large checkout station/desk, and a children's room that is very inviting. It was a much-needed and long overdue project.

The new public library has an abundant perennial garden.

As I'm no longer a resident of the town I don't have a library card there, but I have been to a few children's events there. A beautiful and abundant perennial garden graces the front, and the building has a changing "marquee" of sorts. Every new season a new, large brightly painted symbol appears on the center front. It highlights the season, for example, a school bus for September, a flag for July, and a pumpkin for the fall. In June there was a white and pink birthday cake for the library's 100th anniversary!
Happy birthday to my first library!
The yellow customs house building holds many memories for me, and I'm sure the new library building will hold many memories for today's children as well.

For more information, go to www.waldoborolibrary.org

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