dust and dreaming

There is a long memory in the dusty, heavy light of an old library, and a deep memory in its shadows. There is a sense that when you step inside you are entering a piece of the world that is enclosed for the sacred containment of remembrances and dreams. The library books I take home from such places have that same feeling. I think that's why I always liked borrowing books even more than buying them. They come with the ambience of the library.

My personal style changes often, for I am a little lost perhaps in a world that looks nothing like the one I grew up in. The truth is, my real style is old library. Dust and quiet. Memory and dreaming. Rooms that still have all their old ghosts. Longing for the stories of centuries ago. It is a style that sounds like shoes going quietly on wooden or marble floors. It smells of paper and ink. And it includes thrills such as writing your name on the list of borrowers at the back of a book, amongst the names of kindred spirits.

Most of the old libraries are gone from my part of the world. But we can be what we want for ourselves.


  1. You painted a beautiful picture from the past, of memories that needed remembering. And I have.. thank you, dear friend.

  2. Oh, yes, 'old library'; that's me. :) My town, thankfully, still has its old library, although its currently under renovation. It is a big, stone building with castle doors, beautiful old woodwork, and a huge fireplace in the central hall. However, it is currently under renovation, so the collections have been moved to a modern office building. The old building's hallowed space had been ruined by computers anyway. The central hall had two rows of glowing screens always in use. Gone were the lovely wooden tables where you could sit and read or write. I do miss the old card catalog system of my youth. I recently rediscovered the joy of browsing the library stacks and finding treasure, although I must admit that I use the online interlibrary loan system more than anything else these days. Still, I cannot help but think that in our constant push towards 'progress' we have lost an awful lot of goodness and beauty which offered a connection of a different kind.

    Beautiful post, Sarah.♥

  3. Lovely memories of old libraries. I must say I like modern ones too, with their focus on helping the community around them.

  4. oh, yes! i remember the library of my childhood so vividly---i loved the old building it was housed in, the smell of it, the quiet, the light slanting through old wavy glass, the way books were distributed about the various rooms, all the little nooks that were perfect for curling up in to read until i was collected...the county moved the library in my early teens to another building, a disused armory from the 1950s, which was basically one big room and a warren of offices. fluorescent overhead lighting. carpeting. bright, cheap-looking, cartoonish posters in the children's section. computers and plastic stools. no nooks, no cozy seating. no real windows, just a few inoperable rectangles of glass at the high ceiling. i somehow could not make myself go there after the first few tries...

    and now you mention it, i remember seeing other children's names in the check-out cards of my favorite books, and noticing when someone was a repeat borrower of a title, like me. i always wondered if they were anything like me in other ways, and sort of hoped to see them one day. i think i believed we would somehow recognize each other...


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