While traveling cross-country in our old RV, several years ago, my husband and I landed in New Harmony, Indiana. It is a welcoming town, perhaps more so than others. We stopped at the library to use the Internet. What happened there was rather out of the ordinary and memorable.
To my right, in front of his own screen, sat a quiet little boy. I remember noticing his mature composure, though he could not have been more than eight years old. I was not familiar with the software on my computer and must have appeared clearly puzzled, for he turned to me and very eloquently offered assistance, saying “Pardon me Madame, but may I help you?” He politely showed me a few navigation tricks, even anticipating my next question and resolving that as well. A moment later, the librarian entered the room. My little friend almost bowed as he greeted the man, “Good morning Mr. Stanford”. “Good morning Tommy”, answered the man, “and how are you doing today? Please say hello to your mother, will you?” “Why, certainly”, replied little Tommy, as he proceeded out the door as an actor might exit the stage at the conclusion of an especially well delivered line.
For a long moment, I stared at my screen, unable to accomplish anything. I was not certain any of this was real. In fact, it was so unreal that I remember thinking I would not be surprised to see little Tommy walk straight back into a book, over there, on the shelf with the librarian on his heal.
There is something of the life of books that permeates the atmosphere of a library. I do not believe electronic books can ever reproduce this feeling or spirit. A library is like a spa for the mind. It holds at once knowledge, fantasy, history and all that is imaginable and unimaginable. All of this is possible in a book. There are no rules, no limits, and no laws of physics that can interfere with the imagination. Books are not an escape, they are a window.
Selling or buying a home has a way of bringing to light very real details of contemporary living. Just as a carpenter might need an occasional massage or chiropractic adjustment, if you are selling or buying, you may feel like you need to reset your mind from time to time. Have you visited your local library lately?
If you are new in town, this should be on your list of the first place to visit. The silence and unique character of your surroundings will restore you even before your eyes begin to scan the intriguing titles that stand side by side on the shelves, inviting you to step in.
I recently posted this question on the Stowe Library Facebook page: Can you think of a novel that would be an especially appeasing read for someone experiencing the inevitable stress of selling (or buying) a house? It did not take long before I received a response: “For fun, I’d recommend Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts or the Bruno, Chief of Police mysteries (which are set in France) by Martin Walker.
The words of Stephen Coonts, when referring to his wife Deborah’s novel, summarize the therapeutic effects of a good read quite well: “It’s a break from our work-a-day lives, a world a little bit naughty, funny and adventurous.”
The Stowe Free Library is open Mon Wed & Fri 9:30a – 5:30p, Tue & Thu noon – 7p, Sat 10a – 3p, Closed Sunday & Holidays. It has a rich and continually updated calendar of events for students and the public.