When thinking of a memorable place, some of the most popular spots are the ocean or sea, touristic attractions or distant locations. I have seen quite a lot of majestic and remarkable places that could astound any individual. However, Albert Einstein quite rightfully claimed that the “only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library” (as cited in Jacobs, 2017, p. 13). I would like to describe the place or, rather, a visit that means so much to me. Therefore, I would like to share my emotions and memories created by all of my senses many years ago. I agree with Henry Thoreau’s statement that no “pure objective observation” exists (as cited in McGregor, 2017, p. 108). My visit to a library made me feel my love of books and knowledge as well as exploration and observation. In this piece, I will focus on my senses and emotions that created one of the most unforgettable memories in my life.
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I do not remember the details of the accident that brought me to this temporary library that was actually a storage facility. The only thing engraved in my memory is that our school librarian had to bring some saved books to a depository. I was lucky to get there in my constant search for some sources. It was quite a small room for that number of print treasures. If it had been filled with some food or clothes, it would have seemed suffocating to me. Instead, I found myself in a small scriptorium where all the secrets of the universe could be unveiled. The first thing that struck me was the smell that was so pleasant. It was the smell of new and really old books, journals, and newspapers. Although my friend winced and tried to get out of there, I was enjoying my every breath.
The room was dark although the windows’ size was quite impressive. At the same time, the piles of books and journals on the windowsills and on the floor (literally, everywhere) prevented bright light from entering the sanctum for the bookworms like me. The most vivid thing streaming with the light was dust. All visitors could see and smell the heavy burden of knowledge. Nevertheless, for me, the golden particles of dust were will-o’-wisps showing the way to the treasure one was looking for. Glimmering and uneven light in the aisles was wonderful and inviting. I was completely seduced by the dazzling colors of encyclopedias’ covers and decent looks of novels.
Our school librarian knew me very well as I was a frequent visitor to her kingdom. When she saw the sparkles in my eyes, she simply could do nothing but invite me to take whatever I needed. This invitation was the most valued prize in my life, or I felt that way then. I started my aimless search by touching covers delicately. I was getting more and more excited as I looked through some of the books. I wanted to grab as many sources as I could. I loved the muted sounds of a busy breaktime that did not disturb my quest for some rare and exclusive print gems. I do not remember the title of the book I brought home, but, most importantly, I remember the emotions that book evoked in me. That was one of the most subjective observations that can still bring a dreamy smile to my face.
On balance, it is essential to emphasize that senses make our life complete and meaningful. A dusty room stuffed with old books could seem a gloomy place for many. However, even the memories concerning the spot and the described visit make me feel good as I recollect my school years and my gentle attitude towards libraries. I will always remember the smell, color, sound, and touch, as well as endless joy of the storage facility that existed for quite a short period of time.
Jacobs, B. R. (2017). Transforming your library into a learning playground: A practical guide for public librarians. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
McGregor, R. K. (2017). A wider view of the universe: Henry Thoreau’s study of nature. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
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