Literary Lions

I love the library. Any library. All libraries.

I think I was the only person at college who took novels out of the library and read for fun. And just in case our fancy academic library didn’t have what I wanted, I also had a library card at the local Ilsley Public Library (they also had DVD rentals for $1!).

These days I visit Harvard’s libraries weekly, getting all the time I can in the stacks before they take back my ID, and my library access, on my last day of work (which is only 3 weeks away!). I’ve already started browsing MIT’s libraries online and have warned Tyler that he’ll be making many book runs for me come September. I cannot go to sleep at night without a bit of reading first, so someone’s going to have to keep me in books!
This nerdery has deep-seated roots.

As a child, I won the Pizza Hut reading contest at my elementary school and received a whole stack of vouchers for free personal pan pizzas, plus a weird plastic owl clock that was supposed to help me learn to tell time. I think I gave it to my sister.

I also won the summer reading contest at my local library every year. Actually, it probably wasn’t really a contest, but I did get some certificates of achievement and cake at the end-of-summer parties!

Some of my favorite childhood memories are at the library. In elementary and middle school, I walked to the Montana Branch Library of the Santa Monica library system every Tuesday and Thursday after school and stayed for a few hours. This eventually turned into a disaster when too many girls started accompanying me, and then boys started following us, and we turned into a library peace-and-quiet nightmare.

Basically, I’m geektastic. I think we’ve established that.

So, when one of my very best friends came to visit me in Boston recently, where did we go? The Boston Public Library!

Don’t you want to read here?

When I first moved to Boston, I headed straight for the library in Copley Square, excited to see its beautiful Sargent murals, famed statues, and general amazingness. Of course, I entered the building on the wrong side and was confronted with the hideous ’60s wing of concrete and bad carpet. I never found the historic section of the library on that first visit, and for the next year or so I silently scoffed when anyone remarked how gorgeous the main library was downtown; I had seen it, and it was ugly! But oh how wrong I was …

Since then I have rediscovered the Copley branch of BPL, entered on the correct street, and it is lovely, of course.

On this most recent visit with Zoë, I was quite taken with the lions:

What is it with lions and libraries? The New York Public Library lions are famous, but Boston’s got them, too (just not out front):

Boston’s lions are on either side of the main staircase, lording over all who ascend into the hallowed rooms of learning above:

Maybe I just love lions because I love cats; that would make sense. But love them I do, and I love that they show up in libraries! Cats and books; that’s all I need.

We enjoyed an afternoon at the library, had a quick visit to Trinity Church, and then did headstands in the Public Garden:

Or, we tried to do some headstands until a nearby homeless man started screaming that we were crazier than birds, and we withdrew to another section of the park.

What are you reading this summer?

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