Did you know September is Library Card Sign-Up Month? That makes it the perfect time for you or someone you know who doesn’t have a card to sign up. It also makes it the perfect time to share your favorite library memories.
As family historians, you probably have a lot of favorite library memories, like your first library card and how proud you were. I remember feeling so grown up when I got my first library card. It was in a small local building that prior to becoming a library had been the village’s first schoolhouse. It was hard for me to imagine that tiny building housing the school for the whole town.
I was an avid reader and my library card meant not having to re-read the Nancy Drew and other books in my own collection (although I often did anyway). Oh, to have the luxury of so much reading-time now.
I always seemed to be drawn to the biographies. I loved reading the stories of strong women, and perhaps that’s why I’m often drawn to the stories of the females in my family tree. I like to think I draw some strength from the things they endured.
My first family history research trips were to libraries in Chicago with my mother when she was doing genealogical research for clients. I wasn’t very helpful initially. I remember my first foray into newspapers on microfilm. I was probably about 14 and I kept calling my mother to come over. She’d come to where I was sitting and I’d show her some interesting advertisement or article that I’d happened across. Unfortunately, they had nothing to do with the obituary I was supposed to be looking for. I still have that problem. Squirrel!
On our first trip to The Newberry together, I was 15. Trouble is, you need to be 16 or a high school junior to research at The Newberry. (I wasn’t a junior, either.) That visit served as a good reminder to always check restrictions. Fortunately I had brought a book along, so I sat in the lobby and read my book. Despite my initial visit, I still love returning to that beautiful building and all of its treasures.
What about you? What do you remember about your early library visits—as a child or as a budding genealogist? What was your favorite section? Who took you on your first trip to the library?