Recently, I “discovered” the newest branch of our local public library. It’s this gorgeous stone and glass structure that houses books on shelves that are not anywhere near full. The space is open and airy, and it’s always full of people. The librarians are really helpful, and the selection is pretty good for a rural county in Maryland.

My own local branch does the best it can. The staff is helpful and kind, but they are working in a space that would even make the “coziest” of Charles Dickens’ characters cringe. Everything is crammed into a tiny room, and honestly, it’s a little nerve-wracking to be in there with too many other people – such tight quarters.

And yet, no matter which branch of the library I go to I get lured into the prospect of a new book, even though I have more of my own books than I can read. They are piled high on the chair my dad made me as a child, tempting me. Yet, still, those hardcover books in their plastic jackets lure me in. Recently, I picked up the new Elizabeth Peters – Laughter of Dead Kings – a nonfiction collection on Italy – Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr – and a novel by Ethan Canin – For Kings and Planets. I have never heard of Doerr or Canin, but I thought I’d branch out and try new stuff. I’ll let you know what I think.

There’s something about a library that simply makes me happy. Maybe it’s that libraries are places that exist purely for knowledge and mostly for books. Maybe it’s that they’re free and thus accessible to everyone. Maybe it’s simply that I have fond memories of libraries from my childhood where my mom used to take my brother and I once a week to pick up our “limit” of books. Whatever makes me love them, I really enjoy being in a library space, breathing that bookish air and thinking about what I will read.

The Library of Congress – The Library of Congress