My very favourite library, the New York Public Library: this splendid building is the home of the research library, "with the famous main reading room a majestic 78 feet (23.8 m) wide by 297 feet (90.5 m) long, with 52 feet (15.8 m) high ceilings - lined with thousands of reference books on open shelves along the floor level and along the balcony; lit by massive windows and grand chandeliers; furnished with sturdy wood tables, comfortable chairs, and brass lamps." Now that's a library. Go visit if you are ever in New York. They usually have some kind of special show on in their gallery which also adds to its visitor appeal.
I know that I promised I wouldn't talk about books for a bit, but I guess I just can't help it. Sorry! Today, I was at a branch of the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) that is not "my branch". While there, I was talking to a librarian who used to work at "my branch" but now works at the other branch. We know each other really well and I was talking about what I am going to say here.
We came to Vancouver in 1961 and one of the first things we did was get a library card. Both A and I are insatiable readers and we came to Vancouver with just enough money to buy some cheap furniture for our apartment and a second hand car. No money for books, of course, hence the library cards.
In 1964, we bought our first house in the Dunbar area and with our 18 month old son we started the "B" family tradition of going to the Dunbar Branch of the VPL every Saturday. A few years later we had a daughter and then four of us made the weekly pilgrimage. I guess we chose Saturday because A wasn't working that day and later on the children were not in school. Of course, when I was working and sometimes did weekend shift work, Saturday still suited the other three and I scrabbled in just before they closed. After all, the books were always due on a Saturday.
Luckily I was blessed with two children who are also readers and, even after they went away to graduate school at other universities, whoever was home for the summer visit still went on the library outing. We are both retired now for almost nine years but we still go on the Saturday library pilgrimage, just the two of us. In fact my son, who has his own house across the city does the Saturday library run to "his branch".
When we have finished whatever book we are reading, we put it in the front hall by the front door. So we won't forget to take it back. We moved house in 1977, but only a mile from our original house, so we didn't have to change branches and this house too has a heap of books by the front door.
Of course I now own thousands of books but I still borrow many and for forty three years we have had this family tradition. The daughter who lives outside New York city, although not following the day exactly, still is a regular patron of her library and I think she owns even more books than I do.
Before I finish this post I just want to tell you about a book which I finished last night, now by the front door for return on Saturday. Not a full review but a little teaser. It's called The Echo Maker, a novel, by Richard Power. I was fascinated by this book because it was full of case histories describing the infinitely bizarre world of brain injuries. The protagonist, after a car accident, has Capgras syndrome -- the delusion that people in one's life are doubles or imposters. Now don't be put off, this was a very well written novel and it won the National Book Award in 2006.
Now definitely the next post will not be about books. The Saturday Photo Hunt --Art will show you a photo of a piece of art that I treasure and of course it has a little story to go with it. See you all here.