Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Do You Need a Pencil?

I love to read.  I love the total escapism that comes from delving into a book and not wanting to put it down.  The weight of a book in my hands and quite often the smell of old pages have entranced me many a time.  I now have the luxury of owning an electronic reading device and can have my choice of any reading selection in mere seconds.  But, not too long ago I was dependent upon our small town library. 


When I first moved to Smalltownland I was determined to get assimilated and one of my very first outings was to the local library.  It was quite close to the historic house we owned at the time and I trotted on over with a toddler in tow.  

And what a sight to behold when I walked into the front door.  The building was small with shelves around the walls of the room and maybe five free standing shelves.  Two ladies, with a dog mind you, were enjoying some iced tea at a table.  A handful of people were browsing the shelves and there were several ladies working at the counter.  I was immediately greeted and I didn't need to explain myself.  Everyone knew who I was....where I came from....who my parents were....the name of my son and that he had been born north of the Mason Dixon Line. 

One of the ladies graciously offered to read the tiny Deerslayer a story while I browsed.  Upon inquiring, I was told that I wouldn't need a library card....they all knew where I lived. 


After I had made my selections I actually had to fill out the cards in the back of the books.  Something I had not done since...high school maybe?  As I was filling out one of the cards the elderly lady asked me if I really liked, "that kind of book".  It happened to be a romance novel and I told her that yes, on occasion, I did read romance novels.  Well....she informed me that, if I wanted, I could fill out the card in pencil....so my name could be erased later.  

I must have given her quite the puzzled look because she then explained that some of the town ladies didn't like for their names to be left...."in those kind of books".
I was brazen and wrote my name in pen.....for the whole town to see....and talk about later. 

And on my next trip to the library I used the back door....like a real local. 


51 comments:

  1. OH NO, your electronic reader is killin’ me ;). I’ve worked for RR Donnelley for over 30 years. At anyone one time 50 to 70% of the books on the NY Times best seller list were printed and bound on equipment I’ve had a hand in designing, building, and installing. On the bright side the electronic reader has forced us to develop digital press lines that allow us to custom print any book from just one book to however many books you want. So I'm going to stick to the good old fashion printed books and pencil :).

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  2. Sounds like our little library...except we don't use the cards anymore. My fav part about ours is that they don't charge overdue fines..yippee!! Saves me lot of $$$....I keep thinking about a Kindle but just can't do it yet..don't want to give up my books.

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  3. LOL! Erasing your name out! Oh that's too funny. I love to read too :-) I've got quite a collection - I don't know if I'll ever get through them all because I keep picking up books at yard sales and thrift stores.

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  4. I was born in the Bronx, and its still hard for me to think i really lived in a city the size of NY,or any city. I was born to live in the country. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa.

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  5. you could have been in Harrison, Arkansas....same type of library, and people! Small town America takes some tolerance. Some good, some bad. We moved from Sacramento to Harrison in the early 70's and my first experience at the groc. store was stares at the clothing I wore. I adjusted, they never did.

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  6. laughing out loud!!!! omg!!! classic!!!! oh, thanks for sharing this!!! made my morning!

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  7. lol -- great story! I don't know which part I like better: the card in the back of the book a la circa 1974...the offering of the pencil for discretion...or the fact that you didn't need a library card because they know where you live. Priceless.

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  8. This is a great post:) Think smalltown is even smaller in some respects than the little town I grew up in, even though we didn't even have a library.

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  9. That is hilarious!
    But definitely typical of a small town. LOL

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  10. Ahhh, small towns. ;) And having been raised in one, I can wink at that!

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  11. Hahahaha...how funny but how sweet all at the same time. I had a safe, happy feeling reading about the welcoming arms that reached out to you and accepted you into the hearts of that little town.

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  12. You've given me my smile for today. :) Don't you love living in a small town? Your town sounds just like the one I grew up in. Where I live now is rural, but not as much. I miss it! Hubby has a Kindle too. I think they have their place, but I love my books!

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  13. Bahahahahhhah!!! OH too funny! I love it!
    Good for you and your pen;))

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  14. OH! That is so funny! We live in a small village and I often request (from Larger libraries OUT of our county) research material...and I know the ladies discuss WHAT it is that I am researching. (I work in psychiatry---some WEIRD topics!)

    I love this! HA!

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  15. Cute and funny story. A town where everyone knows your business.

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  16. Sounds like our town library except we do have library cards complete with bar codes! Frankie spend a lot more time in the library than I do because she does more "old school" reading while I spend more time online or reading e books on my laptop. Still, when I do walk in the door the ladies behind the counter always say "Hi, Frankie's husband. How's Buddy today?" They don't remember my name but they do remember the dog's!

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  17. I think your life should be made into a movie. Especially because of stories like these! Too funny!

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  18. Are you sure that you haven't time warped back to the 1800's? Great post! It must be sort of living in a goldfish bowl. :-}

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  19. I'd sign that sucker in pen too! I love reading just about anything I can get me hands on. I got a Kindle for Christmas but still go back to paperbacks. Just something about holding on to a good ol' book. The only time I use the kindle now is while we are traveling on the bike...limited space ;)

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  20. Scrambledhenfruit - I still love real books, but living as far out as we do, bookstores are far away. And, needless to say, the selection at the local library is limited!

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  21. Ian - I quite often feel like I am living in a time warp!

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  22. That's precious. And I thought my town was backward. ;)

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  23. Lovely story, what a nice place to live :-)

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  24. that is hilarious.....must have been an "R" rated book! lol
    I can't accept the kindle...I have to have the book in my hands and turn the pages.....And then place my book on my shelves....to keep and refer back to...I'm just that kind of girl (oldfashioned)

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  25. Ha ha--what a great description of the local library. I love the convenience of the global library but how will we ever replace a gathering place like that?

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  26. I am still laughing...I actually had to read this one to my husband...We are from a small town like yours and so it makes it very easy to understand such a happening...

    LOL...
    shug

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  27. That is too funny!! I love reading romance novels too but I've never had to write my name in the back of the book so I've never been told that.

    That makes me smile. I need to get back to the library!

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  28. I live in a small town, but it isn't as friendly as your town. I quickly went through all the books at my local library. I now download to my Nook.

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  29. I laughed out loud reading this and then carried my laptop into the living room so I could read it to my teen daughters. :)

    Write it in pencil... So cute!

    Six years ago, we moved back to the same small town I grew up in. When we visited the little library, my son took out a book (one of the Secret Seven series) and there was my name, printed on the card in the back of the book from 30 years ago! We got a laugh out of that.

    Oh, I'm a lover and collector of books too, but I also have a Nook. Both kinds of books have their purpose. :)

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  30. Nanny - I promise that it was a totally "G" rated book! Our little library wouldn't have it any other way!

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  31. Farmchick, this is one of your best posts, in a long list of great posts. I can just visualize all of this. Go ahead and write your name in big letters and in ink. I am also a big reader, but this blog stuff is cutting into the available time for it, regrettably. But . . . electronic? . . . you? . . . say it isn't so . . .

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  32. Oh nostalgia! This makes me homesick for the sweetest small town library ever when I was a kid. My grandpa had a cottage in Massachusetts and you could walk to this lovely old library...
    How funny about the pencil. I suppose if a teenager tried to check out something pencil wouldn't quite work, mom would know before said teenager walked through the front door :)

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  33. Jack - My electronic reader has been quite a convenience to me as we live far from book stores and our small town library is quite limited in its selections....quite limited.

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  34. The Mister loves his Kindle.

    Loved the story about the library! I think I would have checked out all the ronchy romance novels and signed in pen just to give the town some gossip! haha. Oh what a cute story!

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  35. What a great story! I still can't get into the the electronic readers yet. I still like that feel of a book when I can keep my eyes open to read it that is.

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  36. Let's hear it for small town libraries! YEA! I love that you signed your name in PEN! And as always, I love your photos!

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  37. Ah, my friend, this was a GREAT read! Your little town has way more stuff than my little town. I guess my town is called a "bedroom community" for people who work in the big city of Portland, Oregon which is only 20 minutes West from here. We have a school and a little country grocery and a volunteer fire dept and that's it! Your town sounds aDORable!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  38. There's nothing like a library.

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  39. Haha! Nice story, erasing the names!!
    By the way I love to read and read from books, no electronic devices for me! They lack something that the books offer, or I am too much of a purist!!
    Have a fabulous week ahead:)

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  40. Do you think the library is maybe on the verge of being eliminated one day, and all books will be shown electronically on tablets maybe. So libraries will go online or at least some to save cost?. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,pa

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  41. We have electronic readers...but we also have two libraries in town, one right next to the community dog park!! Love the library, love a town that has two!

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  42. Ha! I would bet "The Joy of Sex" would be the most worn, most dog-eared book in the library, yet - look - no one has ever checked it out! :-)

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  43. Love my Kindle, but I still have heaps of *real* books. I'll never give them up!

    I'd have signed that book in magic marker :D

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  44. Seriously? And I thought I lived in a small town.... :)

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  45. Troutbirder - Seriously! This is a true tale.

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  46. rural towns are wonderful aren't they?!!!! There is something rather nice about people knowing everything about you and loving you anyway!

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  47. I can't add anything new, but want to say that that's an excellent illustration of small town life.

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  48. The college hasn't used carded circulation since about 1989...but a huge chunk of the collection predates that. Every once in a while, I'll find a card with a familiar name on it.

    I know that electronic systems sound sterile, but they have a purpose. Automated circulation not only grants anonymity at the time of checkout, it also deletes the identity of the borrower when an item is discharged- that's quite deliberate. While someone's reading habits may be a source of giggles and gossip back home, there is potential for them to become ammunition in court...and no, I really am not kidding. Libarians went to jail under the PATRIOT Act for refusing to divulge borrowing records...

    Thus speaketh the librarian, who was once the very first youth member of the Smalltownland Library Board. It was that, or set up a cot for me in the back, since I practically lived there.

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  49. Great story and I love the bit about the pen. I can tell your writing must have been about 3 mm thick !! I need to make more time for reading certain books I have although I do have an electronic reader .... My Laptop for blogs !!!

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