So, each month I have been giving myself a set of goals. This month, one of the big ones was to get a library card. Now, for most people this sounds simple and doesn’t seem like a big deal, but most people didn’t grow up in Rolla, Missouri. My parents’ house is outside of town and we can’t get a free library card in Rolla. When I was a kid, my dad had one and I could check out books, but usually we just bought books. So, I had to really want to read a book (enough to ask Dad to buy it, or later, to buy it myself) in order to get my hands on it. The idea of a library that isn’t connected to a school is kind of novel to me.
So, on Tuesday when I walked into the College Avenue branch of the Indianapolis city library (located right next to Joan of Arc, so pretty close to Butler), I was pretty excited. The woman behind the counter very nicely helped me fill out the application for a library card and then handed it to me right there. Unaware of the fact that she was TOTALLY CHANGING MY LIFE, she was nice, but I think she might have thought I was a little strange for being so excited. Then, I had an adventure walking around the library and found two books (a large selection of the works of WH Auden and a short fiction novel called The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas—I haven’t read it yet) to check out. The library is apparently considered small, about the size of the Barnes and Noble at the Dove Mall in St. Louis, but to me it was super exciting that I could take any book I wanted and not have to pay for it, so long as I was willing to bring it back.
I decided later that day that I would rather have a short collection of Auden instead of the huge one I had picked up (the only one they had) because I wanted to be able to read the whole thing to count as a book. For April, part of my goals include reading Auden, Flannery O’Connor, and Samuel Johnson, so I wanted to start on Auden first. Since there are 22 branches of the Indy Library, I thought I would look up online where I could get a shorter version. Fr. Jeff had mentioned to me that I might like the Central Library, so when I noticed that they had a couple shorter collections of Auden, I decided to go by and grab a couple before community night on Wednesday.
Now, to preface all of this, it should be known that Patrick had gotten his library card last semester and mentioned that the Central Library was “nice.” Well, I sometimes forget that Patrick dear grew up on Long Island and is used to the New York City library and has no understanding of the tiny institution that is the Rolla Public Library. So, when he said “nice,” I was thinking it would be similar to the College Ave branch and I could get in and out in half an hour. I should have known when I got there and there was an underground parking garage that I was mistaken, but I’m a small town country girl and when I think library, I’m thinking small town library or College Ave. Not a SIX STORY CATHEDRAL DEVOTED TO BOOKS! I’m not kidding. I felt like I was in a Church honoring the god of literature. It is SOOOOOOOOO BEATIFUL. I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life, at least nothing that was man made. Needless to say, I have finally found one thing that I love in Indianapolis. And boy, do I love it!
I ended up coming home with seven books (two books of Auden’s poetry, one of his plays, a couple C.S. Lewis books, a book on Tolkien and Lewis’ friendship, and Farming: A Handbook by Wendell Berry), all of which were very exciting finds. I’m still trying to figure out the system for the library, because things weren’t shelved where I expected them to be. But it was fun. Of course, I was running late for community night because it took over an hour before I was willing to leave. So fun!
If you ever come to Indy, go to the Library. It’s the best place in town. I’m hoping to spend lots of time there in the future.
Oh, and I yelled at Pat for not telling me about the awesomeness sooner. He just doesn’t understand why it’s so exciting—I’ll have to take him to the Rolla Public Library if he ever visits Rolla. Then he’ll understand.
(For more information and to be impressed by the building, here’s the building page: http://www.imcpl.org/central/building/index.html)