Life Lists

Birdwatchers make life lists. Butterfly enthusiasts, opera afficianados, Grateful Deadheads, mountain climbers, and marathoners compile lists as well. And now, for your consideration, this admission; library junkies keep life lists, too.

The Curious Expeditions blog has a fabulous photo collection of the world's most beautiful libraries. I can only claim to have visited two of the featured libraries.

Some insomniacs count sheep. I occasionally count libraries in the middle of the night when I'm feeling entirely too hot, too cold, too old, and too broke. It's better than enumerating all the parts I've replaced on the Buick.

Perhaps it is a bad idea to put the library list into writing, as I might have to find something new to consider at 2:48 a.m. CDT.

The South Branch of the Lincoln City Libraries is the very first library I can remember. Then came a bookmobile at Lefler Junior High, and a combined city library and school library inside Lefler. I would help my mom choose picture books for my little brother who was particularly fond of a story about the pigs, Roly and Poly.

The main library for Lincoln at 14th and N Streets opened when I was a young reader in the early Sixties. I was quite fond of saying, "Bennett Martin". My class took a field trip to the library, and each student got a library card. Then we rushed to the shelves to check out our first book. Obviously only because it began with "A", I took home a biography of Jane Addams of Hull House, a most depressing book from the Bobbs-Merrill Childhood of Famous Americans series.

I spent many pleasant hours in the Bethany branch in sixth grade doing make-up work after a long illness. I was trying to complete my "February Folder," an assignment to research a different topic for each day in February. Bethany was a quiet branch, and my mom was comfortable leaving me there to do my work for hours at a time. No cell phone. No tutor. A dime for the payphone in case of emergency.

Gere Branch is another nice Lincoln library. Lincoln City Libraries total: 6

The most important library in my life was the Carnegie Library in Pierce, Nebraska, where my grandma was the town librarian. Every visit to Pierce meant being Grandma's little assistant until 1966 when she broke her hip. Pierce total: 1 Subtotal: 7

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Library System 8, or 7 (depending how you count Special Collections) Subtotal: 15 or 14

Engineering which had previously housed the Undergraduate Library known as UGL(y).
Geology which had an appropriately subterranean feel.
Special Collections including the Mari Sandoz Collection

Omaha Public Libraries 4 Subtotal 18 or 19
Benson Baby Jeffy's first library
Swanson Preschool Jeffy's first storytime
W Dale Clark

Libraries on vacation 12 Subtotal 30 or 31
National Institute of Health Library in Bethesda, MD
Library of Congress One of Curious Expedition's favorites.
Folger Shakespeare Library Another Curious Expedition favorite.
Chicago Art Institute Library, not voluntarily, to research Giacometti
Red River, N.M. Public Library lets tourists borrow books
Luling, TX
Salado, TX
Port Isabel, TX
Michigan State
Memorial Library at U Wisconsin-Madison
U New Mexico Zimmerman Library
Bunting Visual Resources Library (slide library)

Presidential libraries 2 Subtotal 32, or let's just call it 33
Johnson A free, clean public restroom after a long drive to Austin!

Oklahoma Libraries 2 Subtotal 35
Edmond Preschool Mikey's first storytime

School libraries 7 Subtotal 42

Lincoln East

Libraries close to home 12 Subtotal 54
Richardson, TX
Irving, TX
Forest Green
Plano Library Branches--
Highland Park Library
UTD McDermott
Wylie Smith

Libraries for dreaming in the future, but I'm feeling pretty sleepy now.

Louis Kahn's Exeter Library at Yale

© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder


Reference Services said...

Your web site is great!

Here is the url of the blog from the Archives of the Sandusky Library, if you would like to take a look:


11:18 AM

Collagemama said...

Thank you! I loved reading about Louis Prang and the American Crayon Company at your blog. I suddenly realized how grateful I should be that the first watercolor set Santa Claus brought me was a Prang set that mixed clear, beautiful colors, and not some chalky paint set from the grocery store!


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