We go to the library every week without fail. To us, fresh library books are as important as milk and bread.
Our library is the Main Branch, downtown on Assembly. The library is a large glass building that has won a great deal of recognition for design and services. The children’s floor has endless rows of books, and there are always several librarians at the desk, eager to help anyone who needs them. We look forward to our weekly trip; enjoying the library started at an early age for us.
Our old library was the Irmo branch in Lexington County. When I was growing up in Irmo in the late 70’s, this library was actually a trailer parked near Seven Oaks Recreation Center. After much fundraising by the Lake Murray Women’s Club, the library finally moved to a small building close to Quail Valley. It was part of a cluster that also consisted of the magistrate’s office and the Irmo Fire Department. A kid could make a day of it, checking out a book, then visiting the firehouse where the firemen were always friendly and ready to show off their trucks. When the library moved farther up St. Andrews Road due to lack of space, local children (and firemen) were disappointed that the Fire Department couldn’t go too.
The newest building opened up shortly after I had my first child. To help with the building fund, we purchased a brick that had our name on it; and it was placed in the sidewalk at the front door.In the new building, the children’s librarian is Miss Becky. She is perfect in her role and I can’t imagine her doing anything else. She is young, with a soft voice and ready smile. She grew up on a farm outside of Lexington and says that she was always a reader. In addition to remembering the name of every child who passed through her door, she knows all about each book on the shelves. You can give her a topic and she will instantly go to the stacks and pull five related books without even touching the computer; it was fun to test her on this. She is never too busy to listen to the children’s doings and is always quick with a hug. Miss Becky celebrates books and never grows tired of watching children bloom into readers.
I love books and wanted my children to embrace their magic as well; Miss Becky helped me do that. She first met my children as babies, and watched them grow into individuals. My son attended storytime with Miss Becky at age two and learned to sing “Freckled Frogs” and “Twinkle, Twinkle”; along with how to sit still and wear a nametag. His sisters were soon participating as well. On the rare times that she wasn’t at the library, Miss Becky’s staff and volunteers stepped in, and were as loving as she was. My children were always eager to see her and tell her about their adventures. Every time we left the library, we stepped on our brick in the sidewalk for good luck.
When we decided to move, the thought of leaving our library gave me pause. When someone is present for an important part of your life, you hate to leave them for the next change. We knew we could visit, but she wouldn’t be helping my children grow and that seemed like we would be missing out on something good.
On our last visit, she was there for a final hug. True to her nature, she made us promise to check out the big library downtown, and even gave us the names of some of the librarians so that we would know who to go to for help. We returned our books without finding new ones, and stepped on our brick one last time.