The Library


I read this wonderful blog this morning which is a review of a book titled “The Library Book”, but which is also about the author’s (Kirsty D’s) love for libraries. It is on the Vulpes Libris blog HERE. It really made me think about the role that libraries have had in my life, and how they fueled my obsession with books and reading. And thinking.


Of course, being the nerdy fangirl that I am, I first must point out that writing the title of this post “The Library” will make a Doctor Who fan think about the wonderful two-part episode of that program with David Tennant, Catherine Tate and featuring the first appearance of Alex Kingston as River Song. Written by Stephen Moffat, now the show runner for Doctor Who and also for Sherlock, it takes place on a planet that is a library. It contains every book every written in all the worlds. Wow. And I thought the Beast’s library in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast was impressive! You can read about “Silence in the Library” on Wikipedia HERE.



Growing up, from the age of about 12 to adulthood, the above pictures illustrate my refuge. The Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, NY.  I would spend all day Saturday there with my friends. I started out in the “Young Adult” section and progressed to the Adult Fiction and then to the Non-Fiction sections. I spent a lot of time doing research there during my college days. It was so vast and quiet and smelled like, well, books! Ah, the good old pre-internet days!

Of course, my love of books and libraries began long before I was 12. When I was in kindergarten our class was taken on a trip to the library. We were supposed to get library cards, but sadly my barely legible printing of my name wouldn’t fit on the line on the card, so they wouldn’t let me have one. Imagine! Eventually my printing skills improved, and when we moved to another part of Brooklyn the first thing I checked out was the library. It was not especially close. It was a long walk  or a bus ride (if the bus every came!). I spent so much valuable time at the Brooklyn Public Library branch in Borough Park. It was closer than the Grand Army Plaza Library, so I was able to get there more often. I swear I read my way from one end of the place to the other end. I read everything. Probably even things I shouldn’t have been reading at my age. My parents never checked what I was reading! I especially loved psychology and adult fiction. That’s how I read Gone with the Wind and Freud when I was about 10. No wonder I’m messed up! 😀

“The Library Book” apparently includes essays about the future of libraries. They are changing with new technology, as you may know if you have been in one recently. For myself, I now have a Kindle. I read most of my books today on it. I do sometimes treat myself to a purchase of “real” books. I love to go into one of my other favorite places, the bookstore, and look through the shelves for something unexpected. I have not yet checked out the library in my town. It looks very tempting, but my daily commute to NYC makes it difficult to find the time. It makes me sad. I did join their email list, though, so I keep in touch with what programs are provided!

My love of books led my to my first job after college – in a book manufacturing company! But that’s another subject for a post.

Did you go to the library when you were a child? Did your parents bring you there, or did you go on your own? Do you prefer to buy books? Some of my friends still patronize the wonderful NYC libraries on a regular basis. Do you still utilize a library?

And for the obligatory Richard Armitage connection – I wonder if he likes libraries, or liked them when he was a child.

Hobbit_poster_200x300Poster that is sold by the American Library Association. Not sure you can buy it unless you’re a member.

Of course, this all ties in nicely with Spread the Love…First Challenge, which involves donating a book that you loved as a child to earn money to be donated to a Richard Armitage sponsored charity. You can find more information about it on FunkyBlueDandelion’s blog HERE.

So SPREAD THE LOVE…..of books!!

Silence in the Library wallpaper by



From New York City. Anglophile, theater-goer, love books, music and LIFE.
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14 Responses to The Library

  1. Perry says:

    It wasn’t my local branch when I was in school, but I’d get on the train and spend many Saturdays there as well. When I lived in Park Slope I was within walking distance and spent hours there looking at books on watercolor painting then head over to the farmers’ market in the plaza.. Thank you for those pictures. I haven’t thought of that building or that cavernous room for in years,

    • Marie Astra says:

      Yes when I lived in Park Slope it was much more convenient for me to go there than when I was a child having to go on a bus or walk a ridiculous way. I spent so much time in that library. I knew every nook and cranny. 😀

      • Perry says:

        I don’t think I went as often as you did, but often enough so that the memories just flooded back when I saw the photo of the main room. Thank you so much. Now you’ve got me looking for pictures of the Park Circle Roller Rink. I just found a wonderful blog full of memories about it.

  2. Lori H says:

    I like this! Yes, I couldn’t have lived w/o a library growing up. I was a bookaholic. I also like the Doctor Who episode you mentioned! Love my DT, too. Maybe for a future blog, you could research if there is a library near where RA grew up and what it is like?

    • Marie Astra says:

      I actually am interested about how extensive public libraries are outside the US. I have no idea. We are spoiled in NYC! Branches all over the place. At one time when I was a kid we even had a Bookmobile coming around!

  3. KatharineD says:

    I’m the daughter of librarians, worked in libraries myself for many years, and married a librarian, so it’s a place I always feel comfortable in. My dad was the chief librarian of a local council which had numerous branch libraries, and he would sometimes open one up for us out of normal hours so we could browse at our leisure.

  4. armitagebesotted says:

    Marie Astra you have hit a nerve. Libraries may be what we all have in common, we the nerdy, bookish girls. I grew up in a town where the library was called an “atheneum.” Woo ooo. (And it was the only affected thing about that small town, to be sure.)

    In my middle-school years, before I had summer jobs, we were given summer reading lists, with the idea that we might read a few books for edification between sun tanning and riding bikes. I would read every single one: 15 or 20 books in two months. I remember plowing through “Gone With the Wind” in three days. Yeah, I’m sure I got a lot out of that.

    But my favorite touchstone I share with you is that neither parent was paying attention to anything I read, and I promoted myself into the adult section of the library pretty early. Somehow I got hold of “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” at a way-too-young age. I think I remember the card stamper lady raising her eyebrows at that choice and me mumbling something about liking the Italian names. It was a disappointing read. I expected gardening tips.

    • Marie Astra says:

      Summer reading lists! I remember those. Actually compared to the books that I was reading our reading lists were kind of tame! But then again, I went to Catholic school. :p We read Death Be Not Proud about a million times. :p

  5. kelbel75 says:

    I’m afraid I wasn’t quite as nerdy as the rest of you when I was young 😀 I had a difficult time learning how to read, so I didn’t really enjoy reading until I was 11 years old. Our public library was a 30 minute car ride away (small town, rural area; no transportation systems) and I didn’t really know how to use a library correctly anyway 😳 so bookstores were my saving grace, I spent any and all money I had earned on books…until I hit my mid-teens, then it all went to gas for the car and admittance to the movie theatre 😉 (I still read a lot, I just borrowed from family and friends) it wasn’t until later, when I was an adult, that I fully utilized libraries (and even volunteered in a small local children’s library for awhile).
    there is an episode of the Twilight Zone that comes to mind though, about a man discovering he is the last man on earth, finally having all the time & opportunity he could possibly want to read…but then he breaks his glasses. the horror!! 😮

  6. I love libraries! I tend to spend most of my time there whenever I’m feeling sad. They just make you feel better. And I love the DW episodes you mentioned *struggles to get “Donna Noble has left the library, Donna Noble has been saved” from her head*. Thanks for the great read! 😀

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