Our fathers were veterans ofย  WWII, so we baby boomers had toy guns. While others played “War” in the dense woods nearby, we played “Library.”

Diane lived 2 doors down. She was the youngest of her family, and was surrounded by books.


Clipart Image

On a sunny day, we took plastic shelves out onto her back patio, filled them with books and games, and set up shop.

We made library cards, enrolling the interested neighbors, mostly ourselves.

Index cards were used to identify each item, a rolling rubber date stamp marked the card at “check out”.

Most of the books came back in the very same day. We charged for late returns, maybe a penny.

At the end of the day, or when rain clouds appeared, we dismantled the whole operation.

It seems we never considered moving indoors, or maybe her parents did not allow for that. I guess we were bookworms who appreciated fresh air and sunshine.

It lasted most of the summer, but only for that one year. Some developed muscle tone, and joined in the ongoing softball game in the next yard. I did not, but was dragged into the game by an older sister who was charged with including me.

My interest in words, books, libraries never really ended. The local public library remained a quiet refuge for me until high school.

I had the opportunity to explore some of the best ones on the east coast; the New York Public Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the largest of all in terms of volume, the Congressional Library in Washington DC.

The one on my bucket list is the Clementinum in Prague, Czech Republic.

There are images of beautiful structures, amazing painting and sculpture in libraries all over the world, but none surpasses this one for me.

czech-republic-national-library-in-the-klementinum-ceilingNamed for a chapel dedicated to St. Clement in the 11th century, it dates back to a Dominican monastery, a Jesuit college, and was established as an observatory, library and university by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1773. With its Baroque architecture, and oil-painted ceiling, it remains as the Czech National Library.







This entry was posted in Art, Beauty, Books, Entertainment, Family, History, Photography, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Library

  1. colinandray says:

    Looking at those treasures from the past makes one feel rather sad at the destruction of ancient relics during times of unrest…. which is going on as we blog. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  2. J.D. Riso says:

    I also took refuge in the local library when I was a kid. I loved walking down the aisles, surrounded by words.

  3. So cute to imagine you setting up the backyard library ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d love to go to the Czech library too. How magical and stunning is that!

  4. Val Boyko says:

    Love this Van! I can just picture 2 girls working hard at being good librarians!

  5. TanGental says:

    Public libraries are up there with sewerage systems as a sign of civilised living. We are lucky to have Carnegie libraries around here in South London; such a brilliant gift from one of you guys to we Londoners..

  6. Looks fabulous. I was a librarian at school, and most breaks you would find me in the library. My section (latin and classics) being the first in was visible through the class from the corridor, so I made sure ‘the display’ was changed every few days. Funny though I never fancied it as a career.

  7. You were a creative child. ๐Ÿ™‚ What a beautiful library. I love the painted, barrel vault ceiling. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Erika Kind says:

    Such a lovely “game” idea you two girls had! Wow! Thank you for sharing these pics. Yes, our Maria Theresia was great and she made going to school an obligation in Austria! There is a beautiful monastery close to Vienna. It was built around the same time as the one in Czechia. Here is the library (hope it works):

    • I picture everything about Austria as being beautiful, Erika, buildings, landscape, mountains, etc.๐Ÿ” The library pic did not come through…thanks for trying. ๐Ÿ’•

  9. I would still like to play like this. Love this.

  10. We played Davy Crockett, but not Library. I suppose that’s because we had the coonskin cap, while you had the date stamp. Did you guys share stamping duty? I can imagine that if I played Library, I would have been rather bossy about the stamp.

    Hope you make it to Prague.

  11. Nurse Kelly says:

    “Bookworms who appreciated fresh air and sunshine.” Love that. Such an enchanting post including those beautiful photos, Van. What fond memories! And I laughed at the “muscle tone” reference!
    Libraries have always been part of my life; raised my kids in them as part of our daily schedule. They attended story time and participated in reading clubs up until about middle school. They really are priceless institutions that offer so much to people at any age. xo

  12. Marvelous post, Van. I remember the tiny one-room library at the school (which also housed grades 1-8) in the little town of my birth. When I was in 7th grade the community built (in a completely separate building — we were astounded!) a library next to the school. It seemed huge at the time, but of course was actually quite small. But I remember my awe at entering the quiet, almost mystical seeming place. I’ve loved libraries ever since. Have a thriving Thursday.

    • The tone, theme, ambiance was the same, no matter how big or small those libraries were. Ours was a steelworker’s community, but the founders dedicated a beautiful old, 2-story structure quite early. When they rebuilt, it became/still is a psychiatrists’ office. ๐Ÿ’˜ Thanks, Teagan.

  13. lbeth1950 says:

    Did you whisper his at each other?

  14. A well crafted post, Van

  15. I was never aware of this magnificent library. Sharing the wealth of information along with the beauty in art and architecture with our children would open their EYES and MINDS to a different reality they are exposed to and live today. Using a creative approach in the classroom (such as asking children to DESCRIBE ALL aspects of a library) and then sharing these images would elicit a natural emotional reaction.
    Thank you for sharing one of your passions and for exposing such magnificence to all of us!

  16. That was a beautiful post Van.. for me I played shop with the leaves and seeds from the garden.. Books have leaves, and sow the seeds of knowledge .. Without libraries where would we be..
    Love BOOKS.. ๐Ÿ™‚ xxx โค

  17. amommasview says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice to once visit libraries like the ones you shared the pictures above? So beautiful. Your story about playing librarians made me smile. It’s not in any way related to your post but one summer a friend of mine and myself decided to collect snails and sell them according to their size. We ended up making what would be equal to 65 bucks… still not sure why anyone would have bought snails but hey, we were two little girls with a business idea, two bicycles, lots of snails and big smiles… and we were on a mission ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. George says:

    Gorgeous libraries. I played a lot of things as a kid but never library. Very unique..:)

  19. joey says:

    OH that is beautiful! I’ve seen one I like better, but I can’t think of what it was… It was foreign as well. The ceilings though, OH MY, those ceilings!

  20. Look at that magnificent beauty. I would be lost in there for days trying to soak in as much words as possible. It’s such a pity that libraries like this have become extinct.

  21. Laura says:

    I’ve heard of a lot of lemonade stands, but this is a first! How brilliant of you girls to think of doing a library stand. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Pingback: Library – Julie O'Neil Arnheim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s