Turning The Page

Picture by by Karen Arnold - public domain

I grew up in a small town and the town’s library was within walking distance of my home. I visited it often and was not averse to rereading books that I had particularly enjoyed. I was and still am an avid reader. Books were my primary source of entertainment during summer breaks. Each week I walked to the library with my backpack full of books and exchanged them for a new set. I sometimes even started reading one as I walked back.

It had become sort of a joke that I spent summer breaks with my nose in a book and devoured every new book that came into the library. The librarian told everyone that I was her best customer and that my name was on nearly every check out card.

When fall approached and it was time to return to school I knew that our high school library would also have new offerings. Our librarian was also the high school English teacher. She worked hard to make sure her students had not only a comprehensive understanding of grammar but also had access to a wide variety of literature. Because I spent every spare moment I had in the library she made me her assistant and I helped there instead of going to study hall. It was a job that I enjoyed wholeheartedly.

Then things changed abruptly during my senior year when the principal suddenly decided he needed to take charge of the library. He believed it was up to him to rid the shelves of books that he deemed inappropriate. He began taking books off the shelves without talking to anyone or seeking permission. Some of them were classics written in the late 1800s, but most were current juvenile or young adult novels. Our librarian had spent long hours making sure the library housed current works of fiction that also enriched our understanding of life; as well as the works of well known authors who had penned award winning works of fiction and nonfiction. The principal had boxed them up and was leaving to burn them when she came back from her class.

When she asked him why he had the books in a box he told her his plan. She was not pleased. The two had words and it escalated until finally the superintendent became involved. He reminded them that this was first and foremost a place for students to learn and what they were learning right now was not appropriate. He asked them to come to his office and I was asked to take care of the library.

When the librarian returned she looked grim. I asked her what was up. She told me she wanted to take me home after school and she wanted me to take the box of books that the principal was going to burn. She said the superintendent had told the principal that he had no jurisdiction over the library and he had overstepped his boundary. The principal responded he was going to take his argument to the School Board and that they would be on his side.

“Just thinking about him destroying library books makes me angry.” she said. “I’ve put so much effort into making the library an inviting place. I added novels that were teen centered and made sure that there was a collection of books that were for research as well. I want you to take these books home and keep them for awhile. I know they will be cared for if you have them.”

At the end of the school day I helped carry the books to her car and got into the front seat. She was unusually quiet so I asked her if she was okay. She glanced at me and just for a second I saw the anger on her face again followed by sadness.

She sighed and said. “I try hard not to make a scene if I have a disagreement with another teacher, but this time I wasn’t able to curb my temper. When he decided that he had the right to disregard my roles as librarian and teacher I let him know he was wrong. His response was that I didn’t understand how things worked and when he added that only the people in charge of the school have any say I blew my top.”

She continued, “The superintendent asked me to calm down and said he thought I should take a day off to get my composure back. Then he looked at the principal and said he should consider whether burning books that were approved by the National Library Association was a smart move. I didn’t stay to find out what his answer was because I had already made up my mind that it would be better to move them somewhere else. That’s why I asked you for help.”

I responded, “ You know I love books. I’ll take them home and put them in a safe place.” The relief on her face told me just how anxious she was and how distraught the day had left her.

When we pulled into the driveway my mother came out to ask what was going on. When I told her she looked stunned for a minute then shook her head. “I’m glad you didn’t waste your time defending your stance instead of just getting the books out of there.”

My teacher looked relieved and thanked my mom for understanding. “Not a problem.” Mom said. “Besides, I just finished the book I was reading.”

The books led a quiet life for a while and were finally returned to the school when teachers voiced their opinion that they belonged in the library where students could enjoy and learn from them. They were welcomed back not long before I left for college. I hope they are still lounging around the library, enjoying being borrowed and browsed.

Drury Lane Theatre London 1808

By Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827) and Augustus Charles Pugin (1762–1832) (after) John Bluck (fl. 1791–1819), Joseph Constantine Stadler (fl. 1780–1812), Thomas Sutherland (1785–1838), J. Hill, and Harraden (aquatint engravers) - peopleplayuk, Public Domain.

This is the third Drury Lane Theatre built in 1796.

The building is the most recent in a line of four theatres which were built at the same location, the earliest of which dated back to 1663, making it the oldest theatre site in London still in use.

- Victorian Web. 9 May 2007,_Drury_Lane



Boreas is an oil painting in the Pre-Raphaelite style created in 1903 by John William Waterhouse.

The painting is titled Boreas, after the Greek god of the north wind and it shows a young girl buffeted by the wind.

I enjoy reading the literature from the 19th century

My mother was an avid reader and always had a book in her hand. I started reading at an early age and soon devoured everything the elementary library had to offer. By the time I hit my stride around 7th grade I began reading novels from the 19th Century and continued through high school. I found them refreshing and interesting. I particularly enjoyed many British authors and read everything our small town library had to offer. I also had a neighbor who owned an astounding amount of 19th century novels. She was happy to learn that my name was on practically every checkout card in the public library. Mysteries, romances, historical pieces, even cookbooks.She began giving me books that she thought I would enjoy and because she had no family asked me to keep them and take care of them. I soon had my own library.
Ok, this is cool.
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