Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Lingering in the Library
It was in the first years of the 1970s and during the reign of Richard Nixon that I lurked about the Knoxville campus of the University. I was a shadow of a student who came to classes in the early morning and departed sometimes as late as 9 or 10 at night.
For most of those years I did not own a vehicle and commuted via bus the fifteen miles from Maryville, where I was still living with my parents. The bus trip took about an hour departing from Midland Shopping Center and the bus returning to Maryville made hourly stops at the University. This meant that sometimes I had to find something to do to fill that space of time until the next bus came.
Also, there were those days when there were long periods of time between classes. Whenever I had those blocks of open time, I might do any number of things. One of the most common ways that I would fill up time voids would be to linger in the Undergraduate Library.
As I was growing up I rarely went to the library--at least not that I can remember. I suppose during elementary school our teacher would take us to the school library to pick out books for our book reports, but I don't really recall those visits. When I was older, my mother or father would just let me buy books when I needed to make book reports. I began amassing my own home library. My memberships in the Doubleday Book Clubs also added greatly to my private library.
It has to with the range of available materials. The Undergraduate Library had books, magazines, and recordings that were contemporary and those that went back many years. There was always a randomness to my library exploratory excursions, not unlike the way I enrolled in classes. For me it was often a matter of "Oh, that sounds interesting--I think I'll take that class", or "Oh, I think I'll look at this book (or whatever) just because I feel like it and I've got time to kill".
My visits to the library were like an explorer in an undiscovered land. In wonderment I would come upon things that were new to me and I would want to keep searching to see what else I could find. It was all random, sure, but my mind works in pretty random ways sometimes. I never graduated from the University of Tennessee-- I came mighty close, but no cigar.
Those random library excursions stand out in my memory just like my meanderings on mountain trails in the Great Smokies. One experience was not necessarily better than the other, but the outcomes of both had a similarity in the process of experiential absorption of my surroundings. There was a beauty to both places that inspired reverence and awe. The amazing scope of the vastness of God's creation cannot be duplicated by humans, but the essence of that creation is captured within the walls of libraries.
Here are some fine blogs where books hold a special place:
Books, Writing, and More, Oh My! -- Swimmer would feel right at home in a library. She offers reviews, tips on writing, and, of course, more.
C C Chronicles -- Let's see-- the header on her blog has a picture of a huge library. I think that says plenty.
Keeping Up With Klapper --Carmen Klapper loves books, but now and then she gets a bit Krazy too.
Mary McDonald Has the Write Stuff -- Mary doesn't always write about books, but she likes them.
Nashpredsfan's Blog -- She's from Nashville and posts book reviews and whatever else is on her mind.
Writing: A Soul's Way of Breathing --Naomi's a writer who writes a lot about, you guessed it, writing.
Peruse these fine blogs and give them your rave review of how they are doing in Blogging From A to Z.