Books Are Keys to Knowledge
The new Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library....impressive! Laurie Belongia, Library Director, provided a tour for the group meeting I attended this week. It was hard to see everything; there were so many features.
As we walked along, I noticed the doors. More specifically, the silver metal plates on each door, inscribed with various quotes from recognizably-famous men and women. They reminded me of a poem I wrote in 5th grade. If you'll indulge me. . .it goes like this:
(Ahem...) My poem is entitled, "Books Are Keys to Knowledge"
When I open a book,
It's like turning a key
To bring knowledge closer
To noone but me.
A person can find,
I am sure, in a book--
Very much knowledge--
If he would just look.
Books offer joys
The hopes, and desires
That come from Authors
Who try to inspire.
Yes, books are like keys.
If they open the door
That was shut so long,
Out Knowledge will pour.
There might have been one more verse, but you get the idea. I was in love with books.
It was my goal to read every book in our Elementary School classroom library. Early on in my educational journey, I won a prize for reading the most books. I can still see (in my mind's eye) the teacher's handwriting on my First Grade Report Card: "Dixie has read 144 books this year." The prize was a long necklace of tiny "pearls" strung on a double white thread, which I played with, looping in in two long loops, then four loops half that long, trying it on, taking it off....until it broke all over the hardwood floor of my bedroom. I swept it up, whisking it away to the box it came in, still treasuring my prize even though it was broken.
In second grade, I developed a system to read every book. Remember the I Want to Be A....(Astronaut, Engineer, Farmer, Teacher, ...) series, and the entire Did You Know? series. Then there were Places to Go...every country enjoyed the honor of it's own book, a cloth-infused hardcover that provided bookends (if you'll indulge the pun), holding together those glorious pages in between.
I remember being sick for a few days, and returning to school, only to find that someone had decided to steal the library books from my desk. I was devastated. How dare they take away my treasures! I wasn't done with them! Never mind the fact that my desk barely shut, and they had to be shuffled around constantly to get at the textbooks beneath the pile. It was done with my teacher's blessing, as they dug out my textbooks to send home with my older brother and sister.
I loved books! They way they smelled, a bit musty and a little like ink. I loved the way they felt in my hands, firm, with their own inherent strength, like a magic carpet that could take me to places worlds away from the farm on the outskirts of tiny Stratford, Wisconsin. And I treated these treasures gently, opening them up slowly to the center of the spine, carely smoothing it down. Then opening them up to about one-fourth of the way and repeating the process, and opening it to the three-quarter mark of the book, and following suit. It was a loving way to prepare the book to be opened and enjoyed, so it's contents could pour out easily.
As much as I love books, I can't go to the library. No, it's not the fines...I've paid all of those. Although, there were often fines, as I was reluctant to give up the books I so tightly clutched to my chest, and just needed a little more time to finish...or start.
No, going to the library for me is like Christmas! There are gifts all over that fairly leap off the shelves! "Look at Me!" one yells. "How about Me?" another calls out. "Hey, did you see this?!" I swear I hear the books calling my name as I walk by, much like puppies and cats at the Humane Society, and I feel bad for them, so I rescue them...but no one has ever heard of "rescue books," so I guess that's not really a thing.
If you go to the Everett Roehld Marshfield Public Library, check out some books, but check out the doors, too! They open the door to fantasy, mystery, intrigue, information, excitement, drama, and so much more! Books are keys to knowledge. I always knew that. I hope you do, too! Escape, pretend, be enlightened, become relaxed...it's all there. Open a book, and you open a door.