September 15th, 2011

Of Yankee-land and Libraries

I'm back in my native state of Connecticut for my high school reunion this weekend. I arrived a few days early to give myself time to decompress and get reacquainted with the area.

The reunion is in my old hometown of South Windsor; I'm staying at a hotel in Manchester, just across the town line from SW. Yesterday I took the rental car out for a drive down Pleasant Valley Road, all the way west to Main Street, and stumbled upon one of the town landmarks I remember from childhood: the beautiful Wood Memorial Library.

It's now officially billed as the "Wood Memorial Library and Museum". It's not the town's main library, but it has wonderful atmosphere and history.

I got to go in today when it was open and was delighted to find a preschool storytime group seated in the children's section in front. The kids left in about an hour and I hung around for another hour or so, perusing the adult fiction (in back, up the stairs in the mezzanine) and nonfiction (down the stairs in back) and the gallery and discarded book section in the basement. Oh, and I sat in the bird room for a while, too.

I chatted with the librarian for a bit and swapped memories of school days. It was strange and wonderful talking about my old schoolteachers. So, already this visit has brought back some great memories.

I'd feared the Wood would have either closed down as a library, or else would have been gutted and "modernized". But no, it's still a fully operational lending library (albeit open only two or three days a week) - and it's a REAL LIBRARY! I mean, they check out books with a stamp, not scanners and barcodes. And the card catalog is on real cards.

PS - Apologies for the huge image size if you have a slow connection.