Of Nancy Drew, Pencil Sharpeners, and Culture: Why I Love the Library (and You Should Too)

June 2007
by Florrie Binford Kichler

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Of Nancy Drew and pencil sharpeners–In Praise of the Library



by Florrie Binford Kichler


Of Nancy Drew, Pencil
Sharpeners, and Culture: Why I Love the Library (and You Should Too)


Remember that smell? Those of
you over 30 know. That smell when you were a kid and first walked through your
neighborhood library doors. The whiff of pencil shavings from the Boston pencil
sharpener on the bookshelf mingled with the faint scent of musty covers from
the old World Book
Encyclopedia. The ink-on-paper aroma from the rows of Bobbsey Twins,Black Stallion,
and Wizard of Oz
books in the Children’s Room mixed with the smell of cardboard from the
thousands of cards neatly filed in the wooden card-catalog file.


Every week I rode my Blue Schwinn
Flexible Flyer with the metal basket on the handlebars to my library, where I
would spend hours choosing my reading for the next seven days. Shifting from
leg to leg as the librarian (who didn’t always smell as good as the library)
date-stamped the register pasted in the back of each book, I was impatient to
pedal home and open the latest offering from the Nancy Drew series or reread Louisa May
Alcott’s Little Women
for the 16th time. After all, two weeks wasn’t that long, and five cents a day
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