My librarian friend is coming to visit this weekend, and she reminded me that it's National Library Week. So in honor of Steph, I wanted to give thanks for my ever-changing relationship with local libraries. I will always be grateful for the books they give me access to, the information they make available and the many librarians who have helped me along the way.
Nichols Library (Naperville, IL)
My very first library card came from this library, and I remember being ecstatic to hold the new plastic card with my signature on it. It was also at this library that I transitioned from a card catalogued to a digital database. Before the days of easily navigated internet sites, my dad taught me how to dial directly into the library catalog so I could place books on hold before riding my bike the mile to the library. And of course, a visit to the library meant I could play computer games like Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego.
Aurora Public Library (Aurora, IL)
I went to this library so often every librarian knew my name. They helped me with research papers, made recommendations to help me transition to YA books (called JV books at the time) and then moved me on to the general collection when the time was right. In these stacks, I used microfiche for the first time, checked out my first CD, explored maps and sheet music, and made my first inter-library loan.
Madison Library (Rexburg, ID)
This library brought me into the digital world by introducing me to ebooks. It was also here that I was able to explore my passion for children's literature, and while working for the local newspaper, I even got to write a series of features on the resources the library provided.
Salt Lake City Public Library
I have never felt more at home than at the Salt Lake City Public Library. As a library volunteer, I had the opportunity to work in the library store, plan library events and participate in the Utah Art Festival. I even made a video on how awesome it was to volunteer at this library. Even four years after leaving Utah, I still like to go back and visit my favorite library.
Library of Congress (Washington)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love that I can access primary source historical documents, like George Washington's letters, online. Your digital photo archives are more than just impressive, and you host exhibits on more diverse topics than any other library in the world. Where else can I see a book made from human skin and a Gutenberg Bible in the same collection? I shall but love thee better after death.
Sherlington Library (Arlington, VA)
There is nothing better than a library that keeps you plugged in through social media. Half my twitter feed is Arlington Public Library librarians, and the first site I check every morning is the TATAL blog to get reading recommendations and see what's happening in the local YA book world. They also listen to my purchase requests, and I swear they have a special hold shelf just for me.
Honorary Mentions: Martin Luther King Jr. Library (Washington), James M. Duncan Library (Alexandria, VA), Harold Washington Library (Chicago) and all of my school libraries that have kept me supplied with plenty of books for a lifetime.