It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for school librarians and bookmobile drivers/librarians. These are the people who helped me find the already written words that would shape the person I would become. The results of their labors would probably surprise them.
One of my most vivid memories of the bookmobile which came to our elementary school not often enough, in my then young opinion, offers evidence of the twists a guiding hand can take.
The general guideline, the bookmobile driver/librarian said, was that books at your eye level were the books you would be able to read easily. My eyes scanned the shelves running the length of the bus-sized van, and my body turned to look at the back of the vehicle filled floor to ceiling with books. I wondered if I could ever read them all. Then my body turned a bit more to follow the rows of books toward the driver’s seat and found bookshelves even tucked in near there.
I read some of the titles at my eye level. Thin books, with chapters, large printing.
I let my eyes wander above eye level and saw fat spines, bulging with words in small print. I swear I could almost hear voices saying, “read me, read ME, choose ME!” But then I had a vivid imagination. I let my hands run along the base of that shelf, fingers brushing the spines of the above eye level books. That touch was a promise I was making to them, that I would be back, soon, to take them off their shelf and home to mine for a visit, a get to know you week, a sleepover.
That first day I was a dutiful student. I selected books at my eye level and envied the tall kids in the class.
Next time! Next time the traveling library pulled in beside the artesian well water fountain and opened its doors to me, I would be ready. I would write my name and stamp the card for one of those bigger kid books and I would read it all. I would practice what to say to the driver when she protested my book choices.
I wanted tall stories, wide vistas, big characters. I would have them and so much more.
How grateful I am for those additional choices the bookmobile brought, especially when the school library had exhausted itself on me. The salvation of a bookmobile visit over summer break was sometimes all that got me through those long summer months.
Well, that may be exaggerating it some. But then, it seems I’ve always wanted more than the average.
I am thankful for that mental meals-on-wheels filled with books, filled with other worlds, filled with wonders.