Saturday, 4 September 2010

Happiness is a Library

Like all authors, I grew up reading and making weekly treks to the library. I grew up in the fifties, before everyone had a television. Certainly, we didn't. But our small West Texas town had a wonderful library on the city square. It really was rather small, but to a child the steps up to the big heavy door seemed long, the building imposing, and the inside large and exciting. Mother dropped me off while she shopped, or she sat and read a newspaper while I roamed through the children's books to find just the right ones.
The Bobbsey Twins books were my early favorites, those I remember reading at a very young age. Each book transported me to a frightening mansion, a secret hideaway, a tree house, or a mysterious locket. The twins' abilities to solve mysteries astounded me. Fuuny, I never saw them as children like myself, though. To me, they were larger than life characters who had abilities I could not imagine.
The Strawberry Girls series were my favorites. I couldn't get enough of the comical girl with the pigtails and bucket and overalls. Her adventures took place outdoors, and I couldn't wait to find the next book. I could check out several books, but I never checked out more than one of a particular type at a time. To savor and anticipate became almost as exciting as the book itself.
The Nancy Drew series were probably the most widely-read books of their kind. I enjoyed them very much, but I grew tired of them. Now I believe I read those when I was too young to appreciate them. All these old books can be found today on websites and eBay.
I couldn't find images of the Famous American series. All told, I loved these the most. The actual book was about the size of our trade paperbacks today, and about half-an-inch thick--hardback. Reading these taught me about George Washington Carver, Nancy Hanks, George Washington, Eli Whitney, Florence Nightingale, Sacajawea, Louis and Clark, Daniel Boone, Sitting Bull, and dozens of others. I loved the black and white drawings. Each character was glorified in some way, with a simple story, making me proud he or she was an American. 

I love my local library. San Marcos, Texas Public Library is the busiest library I've even seen. It's big and sprawling, with a big children's area complete with room for shows and performers. They offer free income tax preparation, rooms to hold private meetings, classes on the computer, musical performances at night in a meeting room, tutoring for non-English-speaking residents, informative lectures, and of course, rows and rows of books. Just last week, the library celebrated the purchase of the 150,000th book. That's probably small for many towns, but for us--it's an important milestone.
  Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Cheryl said...


I used to love the Bobbsey Twins books, and Nancy Drew--my gosh, how many of those have I read! LOL There was another "twins" series that had to do with countries. "THE IRISH TWINS", "THE ENGLISH TWINS", etc. I remember reading those when I was about 9 or 10. I really loved to read and my parents encouraged it. We had a wall of shelves in our den that my dad had built that had nothing but books. I used to love to just sit and look at the familiar spines from the couch. I always read to my kids from the time they were tiny, and they both love books, though I will say that Jessica does a lot more reading for pleasure right now than Casey does, since he is in college.

Great post!


Lindsay Townsend said...

Super post, Celia! Many thanks for sharing.

I am going to have to read Nancy Drew! People keep talking about her books. I'm going to order one from my library.

Celia Yeary said...

CHERYL--I guess we all read those books. I haven't found anyone yet, though, that read the Famous American series--probably that's not the exact name. From those, I might be the only person in the world who knows Abraham Lincoln's mother's name was Nancy Hanks. I take that back--resident of Illinois will know that! Celia

Celia Yeary said...

LINDSAY--yes, read at least one--just so you can say you have. Celia

Diane Craver said...

Hi Lindsay,

I read Bobsey Twins, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I loved going to the library too. When I became an adult, the first thing I would do in a new town was to find the local library. I am not happy that in our county in Ohio, the libraries have cut back and are not open as long because of the economy. I feel this is not good timing with many people needing to use the computers to look for jobs and for so many other resouces the library offers.

Great post!

Diane Craver said...

Oops sorry - shouldn't talk to my husband while I post - I put Lindsay instead of Celia in previous comment.

Celia Yeary said...

DIANE--perfectly fine. It's a shame your library is cutting back. Many are. Ours is quite prosperous, somehow--it's a county library, although it's called San Marcos Public Library.
I'm always thrilled to see so many young parents bring their little ones to check out books. On Thursdays, you can't get in the door for the horde of mothers, strollers, and little kids. They have some kind a show--and then so many of them stay and check out books. The line is always quite long.Thanks for stopping by--Celia

LK Hunsaker said...

Celia, I read a couple of Bobbsey Twins books but I never read a Nancy Drew. Guess I liked the guys better since I read every Hardy Boys book I could find at my library.

Glad to know your library is doing so well! Ours is building, also.

Celia Yeary said...

Loraine--how funny. I thought the girls liked Nancy and the boys liked the Hardy Boys. Our oldest grandson is 12 and he's discovered the old Hardy Boys series--I guess they were re-released. He reads one right after the other. It makes me happy to see him reading some of the old novels. Celia

Savanna Kougar said...

Celia, I love this library walk down memory lane. Those were popular when I was growing up. I think I read one Nancy Drew and didn't like it. I didn't like the Hardy boys, either. Although, I think it's wonderful your grandson is reading them now.

I read tons of books, devoured them. Mostly any horse book, fiction and non fiction, I could find. Also, a lot of dog stories like Lassie, Come Home. I loved adventure stories set in other lands. We had the Time-Life series of books which were always fascinating.

Celia Yeary said...

Hi, Savanna! I, too, liked the adventure stories. I stated I became tired of Nancy Drew--probably because I don't like mysteries. People who read mysteries seem to only read that one thing--maybe not, but they are loyal to the genre.
And, oh, yes, the animal stories.
When I was a sophomore in high school--in the fifties--our English teacher took us to the library to choose a book to write a book report. I could not find a book I liked. Everyone else did and had gone. She found me, dragging along the stacks and said something like-"You're a mature reader, I have a book I think you'd like." I have never forgotten that book. It took place in Russia in the 1800's and snow was piled up, and a group of young people piled in a horse-drawn sled and took off across the countryside to a party. A pack of wolves began following them, and the horses ran faster, out of control, and three young people fell off the back. The wolves stopped and pounced on know the rest. I was mesmerized--I'd never read anything except happy stories. Wow. I remember that book!`Celia

Savanna Kougar said...

Celia, that would be a book you'd definitely remember! I have a few like that. One was where the heroine kept losing all of her husbands. It was set in the Old West and they died in ways that could be expected. The third husband, whom she loved, lost his head to the Indians.

And, that's one reason why I write HEA.