Core Library Memories | Cup of Jo

Air conditioning! Growing up in a tiny ranch home in the unincorporated part of a wealthy Chicago suburb, cranking the windows closed and cranking up the AC in the summer was a rare luxury. On the hottest days, my mom would deposit me at the public library, and I’d spend the entire day in the cool air beneath its soaring ceilings, searching through encyclopedias, tucking myself into quiet study carrels, or exploring the magazines in the adult section upstairs. I didn’t have a library card since we lived in the unincorporated part of town; we’d have had to pay for that privilege–an “extra” that my parents couldn’t afford. Seared in my memory: the day an envelope arrived in the mail, addressed to me and without a return address, containing a library card bearing my name. To this day, I don’t know who sent it (though we had our suspicions about those lovely, nurturing librarians who came to know me as a frequent patron). Life changing. Isn’t that an incredible gift?!

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