That Scary Place Called the Library

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© The Day Dreamer and Candy Eater

Dreaming Novel Things is a feature in which I discuss book related subjects, but in a creative way. I’ll use interviews, narratives and lists to talk about book trends, book opinions and bookish matters. If you have any book related subjects you’d like to see me discuss just leave me a comment below!

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As a bookworm, it’s almost expected of me to love the library. After all it is a place dedicated to books, FREE books at that. As a child however, I fell short of this expectation. Through my nine year old eyes, the library was a dark, cavernous place, one that would swallow me up hole if I stayed too long.

Maybe I had watched The Pagemaster too many times as a child or maybe I just had an overactive imagination (but then, what bookworm doesn’t?) but the stifling silence would choke me in my purple overalls. I couldn’t help but huddle close to my parents until they would push me off, eager for me to explore this dark, dank world that seemed so vast. With reluctance and an upset stomach I ventured into the land of bookshelves so tall and tried to steel myself for the unknown.

I didn’t feel the warmth or welcome walking down those aisles. I was certain that the dragon woman who called herself the librarian was out to get me with her piercing glares and constant shushing.

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“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

I felt alone and cut off from my voice like Ariel from The Little Mermaid, not able to cry out for my parents for fear of the shushing.

“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

The books on the shelves didn’t feel like my books at home between my red Dr. Seuss book ends. These books looked fierce and accusatory, challenging my right to walk among them. In those dark aisles shadows danced and played. Some books looked like they had fangs while others seemed to have  claws. To this day I swear I saw an encyclopedia with bat wings. These shadows played with my mind and sent me running through the aisles in search of light.

“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

My nine year old self found it too easy to get lost in that scary place called the library. The bookshelves themselves were giants and being panicked never improves one’s sense of direction.

“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

I was trapped, caught among words. Silent words that were oh so loud, roaring at me to succumb. But I was so scared to open even one book and that fear sounds irrational but words have power and I understood this even at my nine year old age. I was intimidated by this power, frightened of what I would find lurking between the covers.

“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

Now at the age of twenty two I still say ‘that scary place called the library’ but not out of intimidation, but out of respect. I walk into the library and am greeted by the same dragon lady (some things never change). Although her eyes no longer pierce and she’s lost the ability to breathe fire, she still whispers:

“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

I tread carefully among the poorly lit aisles, no longer full of doubt but filled with awe. The shadows don’t take shape of sharp angles and dark creatures. Instead they bring you closer to the books, not intending to suck you into some unknown void, but to pull you in just enough to glimpse a view of worlds beyond imagination.

“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

The silence isn’t stifling. It doesn’t choke my thoughts or send me into panic mode. Instead it provides clarity. In the silence I am able to hear all that is unsaid: the rustling of pages, the shuffling of feet nearby but most importantly– the words. Keeping hundreds upon hundreds of books in one place creates an energy that radiates. The words vibrate in the air and speak to you, whether you’re listening or not. That’s why as I child I was so intimidated, I was overwhelmed by all the words, permeating the very air I breathed.

“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

The library is a remarkable place. It’s a place where words run wild and free. It’s amazing, but powerful. Tread carefully and learn to listen to everything it has to say.

“Sh, Sh, Sh…”

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What are your feelings on the library? Share below and happy reading!

Posted April 12, 2014 by Lindsey in Dreaming Novel Things, Features / 9 Comments

9 responses to “That Scary Place Called the Library

  1. I cannot believe you were scared of the library! That’s so cute 😀
    I didn’t discover the library (outside of my school one) until I was 12. And our libraries here …. well they’re not beautiful. The shelves are shorter than I am (and I am pretty short), there are no quiet or dark corners (there are fluorescent lights EVERYWHERE), and there isn’t the strict quietness, either.
    I would absolutely love to one day visit a creepy beautiful old library but I’ll probably have to go to England or something 😀 Just another excuse to go there, haha.
    I adore my library, but it has a very stiff feel about it, and I kind of wish I could make it more homely and inviting.

    • Haha guilty as charged! I really think The Pagemaster had a lot to do with me being scared. It’s a movie about a kid who gets locked into a library overnight and falls into several stories, not all of them nice. Aww, short shelves? That would make my back ache, but I’m glad you love your library (and I’m glad you have decent lighting)! 😉 I’ve always wanted to visit an old library too, maybe one day we’ll get to go together! Thanks for reading Chiara! 🙂

  2. I love the way you set up this post, so fun! I never had much contact with the library when I was young, it was probably around the age of 14 that I started using one. Once I discovered it I would always take out the maximum number of books, I was desperate to have ALL THE BOOKS. After a year or so I grew out of it though because I found it so painful having to give them back, I wanted my own copies! I should try to use them more but I figure I’m helping the book industry out more by continuing to buy physical copies. I don’t want to bookstores to vanish!

    • Awww thanks Becky! I don’t want bookstores to vanish either and it’s a serious problem in my area. I try to buy phsyical copies at bookstore and check out audio books at libraries. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  3. I wasn’t a big reader until high school and back the. I had this snobbish attitude about the library. I didn’t want someone else’s book, I wanted to own my books. Now that I’m an avid reader and I have kids a book habit is way to expensive to own them all.

    I love the library and we go every other week. It is mostly for my oldest to pick out new books but I always have something on reserve it seems.

    I loved your story and the writing was really good. This could have easily been a short story, and one I would have enjoyed reading.

    • Money is definitely a factor of why I love the library so much, I love owning books but that starts to add up and on a college student’s salary it just isn’t feasible. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the kind feedback. It’s much appreciated! 🙂

  4. ahh, how sad! I was obsessed with the library. Ours never had enough books in my opinion. It was really well lit, too! I didn’t see Pagemaster until after I was already in love with the library, so maybe that helped! I’m glad you’re more open to it now =)

    • I’m really glad that you immediately fell in love with your library Katy, its such a wonderful place! (I think seeing that movie after was definitely in your favor)! 😉 Thanks for reading!

  5. I loved the library as a child, because I was allowed to take whatever I wanted! Haha

    As I got older, I the library became a place for school: to research a topic or to work silently. So I stopped wanting to go for fun.

    Now I have no idea a) where my local library is and b) if it has a decent YA section. I know there’s one downtown, but parking is a bitch, so I haven’t bothered exploring it.

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