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When I was a child, the library came to me. Every couple of weeks, the mobile library van parked around the corner, its desultory young driver oblivious to my excitement as I climbed the steps up into the back of his van, a cramped space lined with shelves of books. For me, it was Aladdin’s cave. It was the place where I fell in love with books. Everyone should have such a place. Thank you John Scalzi, for thanking the libraries . . .






The first library I ever remember visiting was the library in Red Bluff, California. I was five at the time, and living with my aunt while my mother was recovering from surgery. I remember the children’s area of the library, and in my recollection of the place today, the rows of books went all the way up to the ceiling. I remember specifically, although not by name, a picture book a pulled down from the rows, about children leaping for the moon. It was explained to me that I could take the book home — and not just that book, but any book I wanted in the entire library. I remember thinking, in a five year old’s vocabulary, how unbelievably perfect. I took home a book about stars, which started a life-long love of astronomy.

The second library I have a strong memory of was the Covina Public Library…

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