Personal Library Narrative
My Consecutive Library Experience
By Kyra Brue
Books have been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was about 3 or 4 years old, there was one book in particular that I was oddly obsessed with: Go, Dog. Go! By P.D Eastman (Dr. Seuss). I’m not sure why, but I would consistently beg my parents to read this book to me every night for a couple of years. Thinking back to my obsession with this book, I almost feel bad for making my mom and dad recite the story so many times. At one point I was reciting the book from memory. I’m sure it drove them crazy, but parents do crazy things for their kids., I’d like to think that they cared less about having to read this book to me a number of times, and more about the fact that I enjoyed reading and learning.
Growing up, I was surrounded by books and the joy that came with reading. I’ll admit that I wasn’t always a very avid reader, but I’d still do it when I had to. Throughout elementary school and some of middle school we had this thing called AR reading. We’d have to read a book, usually from the school library, and take a mini quiz about it for language arts. I remember dreading those tests because I hated being forced to read. I loved to read what I wanted and when I wanted, until I was told that I had to for a grade. I felt as though it took the fun out of it, and isn’t that the best part of reading? Being sucked into story and going on fun adventures without even leaving your home.
In elementary school I always got excited about reading when the school would host a book fair. My parents would give me money to pick out the books that I wanted to read and I would choose the ones that I wanted to read the most to purchase and take home with me. Some of the books that I was eager to read, during my earlier years, were the Judy B Jones and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series’, along with others that I can’t recall at the moment. I’d always look for the next books in those series first when the book fair came. Although we had a vast expanse of books at the Tritt Elementary library, I wasn’t very fond of it, so I’d become ecstatic when the book fair set up shop in the library of my school. I don’t know if I didn’t like the idea of old used books, or if I possibly just didn’t understand the Dewey decimal system, but I wasn’t a fan of my schools library. However, I did enjoy the cool ship, where we would sit and read, that took up the center of the library, but the rest of the place wasn’t the greatest.
Once middle school came around, my love for reading dwindled to the point where I honestly can’t remember reading at all. I was going through that awkward tween stage, and being told to read for my English classes just wasn’t something that I wanted to do. With my other classes and extracurriculars, I didn’t have much time to read for fun either, and when I had to for a class, I would usually skim or not bother to read at all. Sad but true. The ironic part was that I actually enjoyed my English classes, but the reading part: not so much. I think that out of all three years of middle school, there was only one book that I actually liked reading, which of course I picked out myself. I can’t remember the title, but I read it in the 8th grade, and if I’m not mistaken, that book was my last AR reading.
When I started high school, I actually started to read the books that were assigned to me for my classes. Lucky for me the books were more interesting and I actually was able to get into them. I read The Hunger Games, Macbeth, The Catcher in the Rye, In Cold Blood, among other interesting books, and I actually finished them and loved them. I’m not sure what changed, but ever since my freshman year of high school, I have begun to appreciate reading again, like I did when I was younger. In fact, The Catcher in the Rye and In Cold Blood are two of my favorite books to this day. From freshman year of high school to now, reading has become less of a chore, and my personal library has grown quite a bit. It’s not huge, but it’s definitely larger than it was in middle school. My library is small but it includes my favorite books, along with some books that I haven’t read yet and books from previous classes that I’ve taken.
When I was a child I remember going to my county’s public libraries. There was one that was just up the street from my house that I’d go to about every month or so with my dad. It was small, but I liked it better than my school’s library. At my elementary school, reading was greatly encouraged, so I loved finding new books to read, but once AR reading became mandatory, it slowly began to make reading borderline unbearable. Even though I like the public library more, I would visit my school’s library more frequently. My teacher’s would bring us there about every week to pick out new books, and then we’d all gather together in the ship to read our new books for a little bit. Reading experiences like those were and still are my favorites.
Sadly, around 2009 or so, the Merchant’s Walk library, which now conveniently houses a Whole Foods, shut down. It was my favorite of the two libraries in my area, and after it closed I went less frequently to libraries all together. There was still another one close to my house, but I didn’t really feel the need to go as often. Along with public libraries, a lot of the libraries in my middle and high schools changed as well. They eventually became media centers, and according to my little sister, the media center at my old high school is now called the learning commons, housing computers and tablets with very little book selection. Libraries haven’t become obsolete yet, but in the age of technology they have become a lot less popular. I think that the last time I stepped foot in a public library was when I was 12. I’m now 21. In this day and age people can go on their phones, computers, or tablets and rent or buy a book in two seconds, without leaving their house. While this option is quick and easy, you lose that nostalgic feeling that comes with sitting on a comfy couch or bean bag chair in a quiet corner of the library, while reading your favorite paperback novel. Reading from a device is ok, but it isn’t the same as reading an actual copy of a book. I will admit that it’s definitely more convenient to get a book off of your tablet, especially when you’re reading a series and absolutely need to know what happens in the next installment, like my sister does, but when it comes to the feeling that comes from enjoying an actual book there is just no comparison.
Libraries are always going to be important, especially when it comes to preserving certain historical texts for the future generations to learn from or enjoy. I feel that if libraries were to ever become obsolete, keeping things on computers, wouldn’t be the best answer. If technology takes over completely and there’s an outage, or something that happens causing, the technological copies to be destroyed, then we would have nothing. Not even a written copy. Therefore, if we keep libraries and their written copies, even if the computer copy is destroyed, we would still have something.
I believe that it’s very important for future generations to have the option to read an actual book or an online version of a book, but neither should overtake the other. Technological advancements to digital reading have their up sides, while actual books have theirs as well, and both should be able to coexist together in harmony. Both my sister and my mother enjoy reading, and they both read on their nook/tablet or from actual books, with neither of them having a strong preference over one or the other. I hope that most people can share this idea when it comes to reading because having the option to choose will allow everyone to have the best of both worlds. Even though we have become an more tech savvy generation, having libraries filled with actual books should never go away completely, because there’s nothing better than the feeling that comes with reading a story from a physical book. There’s just nothing like it.