The Library

By Emma Yang

When I first opened the heavy door to my school’s library, I knew I liked it. To the left were the larger middle and upper school sections, and to the right was a wooden door with a window that led to the smaller lower school library. Since that day, my friends and I have been spending time at the library while waiting for after-school activities to start. Sometimes, we take laptops from the metal cart standing in the middle of the large library and do homework on the desks.

But other times, if we have nothing to do, we rush in and grab our favorite books from one of the tall shelves. We then scramble to the graphic novels section, which is on a little elevated platform with stairs leading up to it, on the far side of the library. Usually, no one goes up there, and it’s like a little quiet hiding place in the library. You feel that you’re above everyone, that no one can tell you anything, and that you’re someplace else, looking down at everyone else from above. You’re untouchable. It’s a place where I don’t have to do anything or say anything. I can let my thoughts wander without interruption and sit there quietly and think. In short, I can be myself. Once my friends and I arrive there, it’s like we have reached our little treehouse. The platform is filled with large soft pillows. We each take one, put them in the corners of the spot we’ve claimed, and start reading.

Sometimes, someone breaks the silence if they’re reading a funny passage to share it with the others, and we all laugh loudly. As a result, the librarians, who are below us, occasionally tell us to be quiet, but we’re so high up, we feel like we don’t have to bother listening to them. We keep on reading until it’s time for us to go.

Our library times are now a routine. Every week, we meet in front of that library. Sometimes, I go alone and sit in one of the huge green armchairs behind the shelves, looking up at the towering row of books, lined up perfectly, all facing the same way. Sometimes, I play a game with myself trying to find one book that’s ever so slightly out of place and fix it up. Most of the time, there is nothing to fix, but when there is, I run forward to line it up exactly with the others. It gives me a sense of a real accomplishment as if I finally won the game after losing multiple times in a row. Other times, when I’m with a friend, we compete with each other in organizing books. We close our eyes, randomly grab books from the shelves, and then open our eyes. Once we do, we start a timer and try to put the books back in their right places, perfectly aligned with the rest of the books, as quickly as we can. Whoever does this the fastest wins.

The library is our special place. It is the place where we can do whatever we want, whether it is to play games, read, or just have fun. When school ends, the first thing that comes to mind is always the library and that moment in that little “treehouse,” where I can quietly be myself.

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  • amy w.

    The library is one of my favorite places to be! For as long as I can remember it’s served as a sanctuary for me. My mom took us there a lot as kids and it’s almost a nostalgic feeling to go sometimes. Especially when I go during times of sadness. It’s a second home where I feel like I can quietly be among like minded people. I love your love for the same space. Read on, dear friend.

  • Jerry Stachowski

    Love the picture of the library. I remember fondly working in the library during high school.

  • Jose F Saucedo

    Enjoyed the article. We are a former Army family and moved often. One of the first things we did at a new location was visit the post and local libraries. Our four children grew up with library cards and books; many, many books. I still remember reading Esperanza Rising and Where the Red Fern Grows with our youngest daughter – books that she signed for from her school library. They all developed a love of books and of the stories they read. As Kathie mentioned earlier, they lived vicariously through those stories and even wrote their own personalized versions in journals. Today our second daughter is a librarian. Thank you.

  • Marlana Sherman

    I really liked reading your story about the library. Your love of the library really showed through.

  • Lily

    I am thirty years old, Emma, and I can tell you that your love of the library will never go away. It can only be described as magic. I now take my children there every Sunday and I can see the cycle continuing with them. Enjoy your quiet space!

  • Kim Helmick

    I love this. Thank you!

  • Kathie

    Emma, I can completely relate to your feeling about being in the library! I love the quiet, the prospect that I can lose myself in the hundreds of stories that live in that space and live vicariously through the heroes and heroines in those tales. I love the smell of the books (you didn’t mention the smell!). It’s a refuge, of sorts, from the activity that surrounds us in day-to-day living, a respite for our senses.