Once upon a time I went to a school that had its own library. Across the street from the school was yet another library—the town library. The big hulking red brick building in the top picture is my old grammar school; the sign shows just how close the town library was.
That proximity meant that in addition to our visits to the school library, teachers could easily manage to fit in once-weekly excursions to the "big" library. Imagine a line of kids traipsing after their teacher, clutching precious picture books, and looking both ways before crossing the street.
When I graduated to other schools in town, they too were in walking distance of the Closter Public Library. The library, you could say, became the crossroads, the nexus, of my world.
There are three public libraries in Alameda, the little California town where I live. They have boring official names -- the Main Branch, the Bay Farm Branch and the West End Branch -- but my family never uses them. Instead, we use the names my 6-year-old son gave them.
Big Library, Little Library and Couch Library.
Those are probably pretty self-explanatory, but just in case you need a little help: The Main Branch is big, the Bay Farm Branch is little and the West End Branch has a couch. (Actually, they all have couches. The one at the West End Branch is just more memorable than the others, for some reason.)
Maybe my son will learn the libraries’ real names one day. If he doesn’t, he’ll be carrying on a proud family tradition. Because my favorite library -- the one I’ll remember fondly to my dying day -- may as well have been called Wagon Library. It was in Evansville, Indiana, I haven’t set foot inside it in decades, and I have no idea what it was really called. But guess what it had inside. Go ahead -- guess!
For National Library Week, we asked some of our authors to reflect on the libraries in their lives. Here's Ben H. Winters (The Last Policeman) on his:
Last weekend I took this picture of the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, in Columbus, Indiana, about an hour from where I live in Indianapolis. Like a lot of buildings in Columbus—a small town with a rich architectural tradition—this building is a masterpiece, built in 1969 by I.M. Pei.
Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by using recycled materials for your next craft project.
Gather basic materials like a cereal box, string or ribbon, hole punch, and scissors to make the Star Garland from Craft-a-Day (Quirk Books, 2012). Download the pattern to get started and follow the basic directions below.
Have you ever really entertained the idea that we might not be alone in this universe? Maybe after watching ten straight hours of The X-Files on a Sunday afternoon, or even after picking the nearest tabloid to get your daily dose of world news. You probably panic a little on the inside, but you don’t want to say anything because your peers might think you’re a little bonkers.
Like one of those slightly crazed alien enthusiasts you see on the Discovery Channel—they seem to have it all figured out, and you can easily be drawn in if you’re not careful. You can’t control the future, but you can prepare yourself. One common prediction is that aliens will want to do experiments on human beings.