The Fairview Park library has been one of my favorite places in the world since I was young and was a part of my life throughout every stage and transition.
We lived close enough to the library that I could ride my bike to it (which I did pretty much every day and maybe even two times on some days!). My mom had punched a hole in my library card and put it on a string, so I could wear it like a necklace. I remember entering the library and feeling like a rock star; all the librarians knew my name and I had decided that I was going to read all of the books on the shelves in the children’s room. I remember putting a tiny dot next to the title on the title page as a way to keep track of what books I read. I knew I shouldn’t write in a library book, but I reasoned with myself that it was okay. The dot was so small that no one would notice. It’s been 30+ years since I did that, but I wonder if any of those books with dots on them still exist somewhere.
As soon as I was old enough, I got a job as a page at the library. I felt so grown up and important being able to go into the special librarians’ lounge! The library kept most of its non-fiction on the top floor and to get there, you’d have to put the cart of books into an elevator especially made for transporting books between floors. I’d put the books in, climb the steps, and have to wait for the books to get there! That was how slow the elevator was! I was good at shelving books. Too good, maybe, because I’d get my job done very fast. And then I may have gotten lost in a book or two on that empty top floor of the library.
I moved away and discovered new libraries, but none were as important as the one that I grew up going to. That’s why it was an easy choice when I was trying to decide where I’d have the launch party for my first book. I had to at the Fairview Park library. The entire event was incredible. It was full of people who had been important to me during my writing journey, and I was able to celebrate my first published book in the place where I fell in love with books.
My young son and I are now discovering the library near our house, making many visits, and I’m hoping that he’ll find the same magic among those shelves that I once did when I was young.
Rachele Alpine is an author from Northeast Ohio who has written middle-grade and young adult works including You Throw Like a Girl, A Void the Size of the World, Operation Pucker Up, Canary, and others. She is currently reading Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk.
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[This is part of a recurring series of Blog posts from authors who have visited GCPL. We ask them to consider the question “What does the library mean to me?” and write a short narrative in response. Rachele gave a publishing workshop at our Chardon Branch on July 5, 2017.]