06 October 2011

Library rootedness

Some friends were talking about a potential up-coming move and one of them said, "We'll have to get new library cards."

In the scheme of a multi-state move with little kids in tow, new library cards are a small item compared to the other logistic hurdles they will have to overcome.

But it got me thinking about how getting a library card has been a big part of every move I've made. I've had library cards for seven different library systems in my life, not counting university libraries and including my favorite one, the Library of Congress.

When I moved to Indianapolis, getting a library card was a top priority after a day of unpacking. I needed out of the apartment and I needed to do something to make this place feel like home. The library was that connection.

The buildings are all different. The systems clearly have different purposes or different things they focused on in collections. But, getting my library card connected me to something bigger, the community as a whole.

It's a marker of identity that "yes, I belong here" no matter how temporary some of those cards were. I had my DC card for a grand total of 14 weeks but I fondly remember the Northeast Neighborhood Branch. I checked out "Interview with a Vampire" and "Cider House Rules" from their room of paperbacks. I think that was a definitive semester as I shifted what I was reading and feeling like a "grown-up" in my choices.

Every library has provided me with a feeling of home.

It is a big deal to get a new library card. I hope my friends will figure this out as they move.


Lisa954 said...

Someone once told me that you could tell a lot about a person by looking at the cards in their wallet.

If they have a voter's registration card and a library card, I give them high marks. I've had library cards since I was a small child. Including the library card from the Indianapolis library system in the late 70s that I had for 3 years!

Stacie Penney said...

Getting a library card is always on my list of to dos early in a new place and location. Heck, when I'm traveling for work, I've been known to pop into the local library for a break from a hotel.