The first time I tried to check out a book from the library, that is, a book with no pictures, I was in first grade. The book was A Vote for Love. Evidently, I had been roaming on the other side of the children's section and found the metal racks where the teenage romance novels were kept. When I took the book to the circulation desk, the librarian eyed the book then eyed me, and wanted to know if I realized the book had no pictures. I was terribly insulted. Yes, I knew it had no pictures. Obviously, it has no pictures. Maybe she even dared to ask me to get my mother's permission.
. . .
Forgive me. I want to go on, but only because I need another library story to read. It is Friday, after all. And dedicated reader, you've been following What She Might Think, so you know what every Friday has meant all summer: a visiting poet or fiction writer has appeared to share a new, original essay on his or her childhood experience at the library. More than 1,000 readers know what Friday means here at What She Might Think, for that's how many readers came to read library essays this short summer.
But the wind is busy pushing summer backward in order to allow autumn to do what autumn has always done best: signal the end of warm, good things. The Summer Library Series is over.
Editing the series has been, for me, one of those experiences that, while it's happening you both know you don't want it to end and that it absolutely will. The essays themselves will not stay on What She Might Think forever. It is, after all, each writer's work, and this website is no library archive. Every writer wrote out of interest in the project and, I would say, a generous understanding of generosity. Because of that, we must give them back their work. Even the grasshopper knew that the ants' generosity had its limits. So it is not just the end of summer, but nearly the end of our time to read the essays, too.
But now is now, and so reflections are here for only now, and they're artful, beautiful, strange, beating things:
|Children reading in New York Public Library, circa 1920|
The series is over, but autumn is lovely, with the leaves how they change, and the air on your cheeks. It is just the weather for a long walk that leads to a library. All our library authors are there, too, waiting for you in the shelves.