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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 11:59 am
I just recalled a particularly vivid memory of a place that no longer exists-- specifically, the children's library in my town before it was extensively renovated. I remember where the Outlaws of Sherwood was, and the picture books, and the Albert Payson Terhune books, and the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and the ancient computers where I played Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. There was a projects board where you could build things from paper, a different project every summer. One summer there was a medieval theme, and so you were trying to build a castle-- read a certain number of books and you got another piece for your castle. The ceiling was low, with unpleasant ceiling tiles and long florescent lights. The pile carpet was a dull maroon. The shelves were oak stained a dull brown. There were rectangular brown stools for reaching the higher shelves.

There was a tree outside, and in the summer it was like an overturned bowl of leaves. If you walked inside the leaves it was like being inside of a green building. The bark of the tree was grey and smooth without being glossy. There were so many branches it was quite easy to climb, and no one could see you there at all.

. . . I remember the library better than I remember the room I grew up in.

‎Come to think of it, I remember all the libraries perfectly. The libraries at my schools growing up, all three of them. The town library; the children's section from before it was renovated, and then the way it is now. The library a town over where I often went with my dad to get books our library didn't have. The library at my university, the library at the university where I studied abroad. The libraries in the schools I taught at in Japan. And now, the libraries at my postgrad university, and the two I regularly visit in town.

I remember the layout of the shelves. I remember where specific books I retrieved are, I remember where different sections are. I remember what the shelves were made of. I remember what they smelled like. I remember the stairs. I remember the library furniture. I remember how the buildings looked from the outside.
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