My First Library Card


Art by Alp Okyar

Lily Lefevre, A&E Editor

The most prominent memory I have is scribbling my 7-year-old handwriting on my first library card. It felt official and good beneath my hands as I wrote my own name, as I yearned to be older and feel some sort of responsibility. I tried my best to be neat, but the letters came out shaky and wonky anyways. At the time, I remember being just barely tall enough to see over the librarian’s desk, just enough so I could see the crow’s feet curling upwards behind her thick glasses as she watched me receive my first library card. Her appley cheeks looked reddish with pride as she smiled, reminding me of the apple orchards that grew in my hometown. Her smile reminded me of apples, and apples reminded me of home.

“Now you’ll be able to check out all the books you want,” she said. My tongue poked out in concentration as I continued trying to form the letters. “Exciting, isn’t it?”

“Mhm.” At the time, I was still too young and to shy to say what I really wanted to.

Since then, something pleasant twinged within me whenever I stepped into the library. Maybe it was the calming scent of soap I smelt on the hands of the old librarian as she checked my children’s books out, the ones withered from turning pages over the years. It’s possible that it might have been the feeling of euphoria I got whenever I turned a page in a book— and to my young mind, the library could offer me that feeling in endless amounts. That’s why I wanted my own library card: so I could bring that happiness home; I could bring a piece of the library with me. Not only that, but a bookmark or two, of course— the ones with animals on them. Those were my favorite.

Scanning the library card to check out another stack of books was like that feeling I got when I unpackaged a new toy from its box. A sort of thrill always bloomed inside of me, and I would begin to imagine afternoons curled in a chair with one, and then another, and another. I felt ansty to get home and read them all, only to return them the next week and get a new stack. If I lost one, it was like a mother who had lost their child. The guilt from that, well, it wasn’t something I got over easily. Turning it back in late was one thing (although, I didn’t really like that either), but losing a book is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.

That’s why the day I got my first library card was so important to me. It was like a promise of more books, more turned pages, and reminded me of my home away from home. The library card assured me there would be another day where I could sit down and be a little reader nestled between endless shelves of books. Not only was the library card a symbol of my affinity with the place, but the love of reading and words that could never be taken from me.

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