Welcome to the first Friday of September and the eleventh (!) week of the Summer Library Series here at What She Might Think, where all summer writers have visited and reflected on their childhood experiences at the library.
This week's library author is poet kathryn l. pringle, who grew up digging through the shelves and the past, at the Van Nuys Public Library in Van Nuys, California.
by kathryn l. pringle
I needed cold, hard FACTS and I knew exactly where to get them: the Van Nuys Public Library.
Photograph by Vahe Manoukian, used with photographer's permission
When I asked my father, now 86 years old, what he could remember about me and the public library in Van Nuys, he thought for a moment and said, “When you were really, really little you loved The Little Engine that Could.”
My father would take my sister and me to the library often. I want to say he was an avid reader, but compared to my mother, who always had a book in her hands unless she was working or eating, he was just a little above average on this scale. We were, in fact, a family of readers and so economics came into play. A family on a budget equaled a family that frequented the public library. That, and I feel certain that my father didn’t want a house with books on every wall (which, ultimately we did have, because everyone knows once you love a book it must always be within reach).
used with photographer's permission
I both loved and feared Fernando. He stood so strong and fierce and half naked. He was maybe my second crush (after Amelia Earhart). So with the walk from the car, my lingering with Fernando, and my father’s usual answers about the courthouse (I’ll get to that in a minute), it took about twenty minutes for us to actually get INTO the library itself.
The library was our activity center. We didn’t do scouts or play sports or take music or dance lessons - we went to the library.
Once inside, the touching of every book in the children’s section was an absolute must. How, with those soft plastic dust covers and that library book smell - the smell that to this day I swear is the smell of potential energy - could anything else have come first?
|kathryn l. pringle|
Ultimately, however, I didn’t become an archaeologist. I branched off into a related field, a field that I had always been leaning toward but hadn’t realized. I became a writer--a cultural anthropologist or an ontological architect of sorts. And it all still begins with a visit to the public library. Every book I write starts there with massive amounts of research. Not much has changed since I was eight.
|kathryn l. pringle|
Her poems can be found in journals such as the Denver Quarterly, Fence, Phoebe, and horse less review. Her work can also be found in the anthologies Conversations at the Wartime Cafe: A Decade of War (WODV Press), I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (Les Figues), and forthcoming in The Sonnets: Rewriting Shakespeare (Nightboat Books).
Check out worldcat.org to find out whether your library has books by kathryn l. pringle.