Monday Memory

Public Libraries

I love libraries. I always have. I love the orderliness of them – if you know what you’re looking for, you can go straight to where it is. I also love the randomness of them – you never know what you might find when you’re just browsing the shelves.

The first library I remember going to is the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library in Prince Albert. I vaguely recall the picture book section under the windows. So many books to choose from!

I remember the book trailer in Whitmore Park in Regina. That’s where I took out my first chapter book – The Island of the Blue Dolphins.

I remember the little log-cabin style library in Meadow Lake. It always smelled a bit of dusty, musty books. It’s where I first read about Baba Yaga – the witch with the iron teeth.

I remember the card catalogue at the Saskatoon Public Library and being amazed that you could borrow albums as well as books.

I remember the book trailer in Martensville. It only came once every two weeks so I would take a cardboard box and fill it with books for bedtime stories with my sons. I’m not sure if the driver was happy to see me – I certainly boosted circulation – or dreaded seeing me – he had to stamp all of those books.

I remember when our branch library first opened in Martensville. The smell of new wooden shelves and new books. The culmination of years of work.

I remember when I could start requesting books on-line from the Saskatoon Public Library. I had to spend a lot of time flat on my back waiting for back surgery, and I would request tons of books which my husband would pick up and bring home.

I remember when the libraries joined forced and I could now request books from anywhere in the province with just a click of my mouse.

I remember doing research for one book or another at many of the above libraries. Before the internet and google, the library was where you turned to when you wanted to know something. That’s where I learned the difference between a rabbit and a hare. That’s where I got the Friendly Giant’s address from. That’s where I made copies of ads from 1947 editions of the Star-Phoenix for my husband’s birthday party.

So many great memories associated with public libraries. Did I mention how much I love them?



4 Responses

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  1. I used to go to the book trailer in Whitmore Park too, and the one in Hillsdale beside McVeety School. Did you go to school in Regina?

  2. Sharon, I lived on Grant Road and attended Birchwood School for grades 4 and 5.

  3. When I was young, before the regional library system came to my small hometown, I used to get library books mailed to me from the Saskatchewan Library in Regina. They would send my mom a long list of books for my age group and I got to choose which books I would like. I don’t remember if my mom had to phone in the order or mail it but I was so thankful when we got a regional library. Nothing like seeing and smelling the book in person.

  4. Thanks for sharing that memory, Susan! I so agree about the look and smell of books.

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