Did you have one particular library that was central to your childhood? I did: the Mission Hills Library, a small neighborhood branch of the San Diego Public Library system.
|Photo by Flickr member Chimay|
Isn't it charming? Built in 1961, the Mission Hills Library is a mid-century modern structure very typical of Southern California's government buildings of that era. The interior is just one rectangular room divided by shelves, with the children's area occupying a cozy corner.
I remember endless hours browsing the children's shelves, finding books that would shape my formative years and eventually become old friends, like The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, the Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander, Andrew Lang's Fairy Books, the Melendy quartet by Elizabeth Enright, and Edward Eager's magic books.
Many of the books I read as a kid were at least 30 years old at the time, so I suspect this library might not have had a healthy budget for collection development- or maybe the librarian at the time was very opposed to weeding- but I'm glad for the "vintage" books I grew up on.
Though it's a small library, the Mission Hills branch fed my hunger for reading as a child. There's an expansion in the works, with a whole new library site planned-- which is so wonderful for the community, but I wonder what will become of this old building. I hope the city maintains and repurposes it. I think it would break my heart if they were to demolish it!
So, tell me about your childhood library. Did you know your librarian? Was there a particular book you checked out over and over?
And as you're basking in fond library memories, be sure to stop by your neighborhood library this week and give them some extra love for National Library Week.