Thursday, March 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Library Love

Today is the 100th birthday of Your Home Public Library in Johnson City, New York.  In honor of that birthday, I rerun this post about my love of libraries from last year, when I wrote it for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  But first, a couple of bonus pictures in honor of YHPL's birthday which were not part of the original post.
The children's room.
A historic exhibit in the library.

Happy birthday, YHPL!

Library Love 


No, I'm not doing a post about all the books in my house, although I should.  My son once joked that I had a better selection than some book sales. Well, I think it was a joke.

Rather, I decided to blog about the place I'd rather be than anywhere in the world.  A public library.
Courtesy NYPL Digital Collections, free to use
Growing up in a city housing project in the Bronx of the late 1950's and early 1960's, I wanted to be a librarian.  But not just any librarian.  A bookmobile librarian.

Every Thursday except during the summer, I would visit the bookmobile that stopped by my housing project.  On the last visit before summer vacation, they would allow us to take out as many books as we wanted, and they were not due until September.

For me, Heaven!

Libraries were a haven to me.  They helped me become who I am today.

Now, libraries are in danger, such as another local library in Vestal, New York.

We all take local buildings and institutions for granted.  After all, they are there, we pass them every day, and we take them for granted. Even I do, sometimes.  I  pass this building five days a week, sometimes six.  But I rarely use this particular library.  I should (and, since I first wrote this post, I have started to.)

This is Your Home Library in Johnson City New York, the closest library to where I live in upstate New York

This building was built partly in 1885 and partially in 1920.  It's a small library, but full of local history.  When you enter, in fact, there is a small display of local history - a portrait, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia.

There is evidence of an earlier era wherever you turn in the small rooms.  It is not an easy library to use, I'll admit.  The Binghamton library, where I work during the week (built in 2000), is modern and spacious.  But Your Home Library has character.  And fireplaces.

Here's another one of the fireplaces.

What a comfy reading room.   If you aren't sure what to read, the display of books along the wall - picks by the staff - will lure you into an afternoon of reading.

And one more view of the building.

Local public libraries face many challenges today.  Their funds are constantly being cut.  People are loathe to vote in the tax increases they need to survive.  But these libraries are, increasingly, so much more than a place where you can walk in with a card and walk out with one or more books to read.  They provide internet access, wi-fi,  computers for those who don't own one, job hunting services, e books, CDs and DVDs, magazines, free tax preparation done by volunteers, free databases, and so much more. One of our local libraries even features yoga classes on Fridays.

In fact, the photo I started this post with is from a digital collection of the New York (City) Public Library, and anyone can down load it, free of charge.

As I used to say in the 60's, "isn't that awesome?"

What is your local library worth to you? 


  1. I, too, had a library that matched many of that of a small university. But, when I downsized from my home to a townhouse, I divested myself of some 25,000 technical books (they now adorn two different universities' walls) and about the same number of "popular" tomes (sold by Salvation Army and Goodwill, I presume).
    I now only buy books that I want to add to my collection (which necessitates- by my own evil decree- that I divest one from my collection). Otherwise, I peruse the library and borrow what I want and need to expand my horizons.

  2. What a beautiful reading environment.

    My school district has two library buildings. IWhen I was a child, I always went to the main library, a building that is straight out of the "modern architecture" craze of the early 1960's, because it's across the street from the high school and close to my house. It wasn't until quite recently that I went to the other branch -- it's near my office. It was our original library, much older and more traditional, and I was amazed that I'd overlooked such a treasure.

    Funny you should mention "yoga on Fridays", because that's what drew me to the older branch of our library.

  3. I love libraries. Folks should read more and watch less TV, IMO.

  4. Thanks for the love --my daughter is a librarian and I have several others in my family. There is a sad trend that cities and towns don't think they need libraries anymore -- so it's nice to see you talk about the social component to the library. My daughter has a movie night once a month, a wine, chocolate and coloring night out, Friday morning coffee club, and many other events. In her tiny town, she has a regular group of young people who stop in just for the wi-fi....Thanks for the post!

    Did that come out a little too strong? :)

  6. Unfortunately, my local library is now in a modern building. I do miss the old buildings that I used to go to in the 1960's when I was growing up. But I agree that libraries are in danger and need to stay fresh and relevant in order to keep funds coming their way. My local library has a lot of interesting programs and speakers. They also have free museum tickets, not many, and it's first come, first serve and you have to pick them up. What better way to get people into a library?

  7. Alana, I enjoyed your tribute to Libraries. You are right, I take them for granted and I am resolving to be more aware of their value. When working on my degree (many, many years ago) I spent a lot of time in the university library. I always appreciated the atmosphere where people working quietly encouraged me to do the same. I also appreciated the helpful nature of most of those who worked in the library. I enjoyed the pictures you shared of the library in Johnson City. Especially like the setting around the fireplace. Wow, I do not think I’ve seen a fireplace in any of our public libraries out here in Seattle but it would be a great addition. Thank you for sharing your blog.

  8. (laughs bitterly) My local library was "home" when I was growing up, and I was thrilled that it stood comparison with all but the very biggest libraries in big, rich cities.

    Then it was taken over by a certifiable jerk, a reject from another county whom The System stuck with us as a punishment because that was easier than firing her (I am not making this up). Rules were changed specifically to discourage adults whose *jobs* involved writing for or marketing things on the Internet from using the library even if we lugged in our own personal laptops. Finally the b**** got permission to ban individuals from the library at her discretion and instantly banned some of the library's best patrons, including me, for quite creative reasons--which basically mean "I know grown-up library patrons don't enjoy the library being run as a day-care center with major studies in singing off key, running and screeching, and throwing food about, so I'm out to discourage those grown-up patrons."

    As a taxpayer, I think we'd be much better off with a private bookstore than with the wreck that currently occupies the shell of my former home-away-from-home.

  9. I love libraries and I am happy to pay the extra tax that makes my local library possible. Libraries are all about creativity and learning and you can't beat them.

  10. Great Post! I too sing the praises of our small local library! One of my favorite places

    1. Thank you for coming by. A kindred spirit.

  11. The last time I went to a library was when I was in school. We had a beautiful army library nearby... After that I never stepped into one. Yes we do pass by them and ignore them like any other building. I loved how this library has a fireplace too. It's so beautiful. So happy that it has survived 100 years.

  12. Ah I had a similar dream, Alana.
    I love the comfort of a library. We've left a lot of books behind in our flat at Mumbai until we get a permanent home here. Thankfully I married a man who is a book collector too. Only in the last few years, I've moved to reading on a Kindle.

  13. It's so cool when libraries are in historic buildings. Not so around here. I haven't been in a library in ages, although I hear a writing group is having a meeting in one this Saturday. Perhaps I should go...

  14. I love libraries, too! My first husband was a scientist and because I was so good at research and finding my way around a library, I did a lot of his research. I loved sitting on the floor in the stacks or sliding through microfiche. Now all you have to do is stay home and go online. While there's more information online, it's somehow not as awesome... or maybe I'm taking it for granted. Brenda

  15. I love my local library. There's a knitting group. For kids, there's a Legos club. We also have a book club, and I've been a member of the book club since it began. I've read so many books since we started and have discovered some great authors. If I hadn't joined the book club, I would have never been exposed to my new favorite authors!

  16. I love libraries...In England, we sued to frequent them quite often. The pics you posted are so lovely! I wish I could visit this one. The reading rooms is so so inviting...loving the ambience throughly.

  17. Happy Birthday to d wonderful lib!! It is sharing knowledge from so many years !!! :)


Thank you for visiting! Your comments mean a lot to me, and I appreciate each one. These comments are moderated, so they may not post for several hours. If you are spam, you will find your comments in my compost heap, where they will finally serve a good purpose.