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Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Library

I love the library. Always have. I used to get so excited when my mom took me to the library. The smell of the books. The creak in the old, wooden floors. The card catalog. The tiny yellow pencils to write down where your book was located. Even the old librarians that had their glasses attached to a chain they wore around their neck. Their clothes smelled like mothballs that permeated the checkout desk. And even now, without the card catalog and old ladies, I love the library. And so should you.

“But I have a home office. Why should I pack everything up and go to the library?” I have a home office as well. But, I also have a dog that barks at everything, a guinea pig that squeaks while running around his habitat, a cat that I constantly have to chase out of the office, dishes in the sink, dust on the tables, laundry and oh, the list can go on. So yes, I have a home office but the key word is ‘home’. It is hard not to think of all the things that distract you in your home. Many times it is worth packing everything up and going to the library. It is peaceful, you have better resources than Google and it is easier to focus.


I enjoy observing people. The library is a great place to do that.

There is the elderly gentleman who comes every day to read the newspaper. He finds a comfortable brown, leather chair and settles in, exchanges his glasses for his reading glasses and reads the headline. He is wearing dress slack, a plaid, buttoned long-sleeve shirt with a vest sweater. His gray beard and mustache neatly groomed. His balding head is more noticeable than what little gray hair he has left. Maybe he is a widow who enjoys being around people. Maybe his wife is cranky in the morning and he needs some quiet time.

There is a male and a female, middle-school aged students who come to the library to study when really they come to be with each other. He is African-American, wearing blue jeans, a Chicago Bulls t-shirt. His afro is neatly combed and his smile is bright. She is Hispanic wearing blue jeans and a Harry Potter t-shirt. She has poorly applied blue eyeshadow, too much black eyeliner and shiny lip gloss. She wears her long, brown hair in a ponytail which she plays with from time to time. They obviously like each other. Maybe they are secretly dating because their parents don’t approve. Maybe they are figuring out their feelings. Either way, it’s clear they are flirting and not studying.


I admit, when I am at the library, I miss my cup of coffee next to me (because we all know we can’t write without a cup of coffee sitting on the desk, right?), I find I get more accomplished working at the library. My mind knows I am somewhere ‘important’ and ‘business-like’ and librarians remind patrons to shush. I no longer mind what the animals are doing, or care about the dishes and the dust. I merely work.


Benjamin Franklin founded the public library in November of 1731 at the age of 25. So this month, we celebrate the 291st birthday of the library. So, this month reacquaint yourself with the library. You can thank me later.


I hope you enjoyed The Writer’s Toolbox series. Keep adding to your toolbox. Would love to hear your comments. And if you have a series you would like us to explore, let me know!!


Next week: Don’t Let the Holidays Stop You from Writing


Until next time…



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