My Quiet Secret Pleasure
Thythy Bui, Division 3, College freshman #ws16e-s2d3

The smell of old yellowed pages and the sound of crinkling plastic protectors come to mind when I walk into my favorite place. Lounge chairs are scattered tactically around the building, with old issues of People magazine or National Geographic flopped carelessly on nearby table blocks. In the back, bursts of bright and welcoming colors beckon children to play with the toys or to sit and read a picture book as parents watch over them from the miniscule plastic chairs. Perhaps my favorite feature of this public abode is the seemingly endless rows and shelves of books, with genres varying from your nostalgic bedtime story to today’s rising celebrity of a young adult dystopian novel to raunchy love stories over yonder. Here, to the indulgence of my “secret pleasure,” the library is where I can escape off to impossible realities, utilize public services to my needs, and meet with others who appreciate this second home as much as I do.

Books have always been a huge part of my life when growing up, and it is to my strongest belief that it will stay that way until I turn over in my grave. My childhood nights all throughout the preschool and elementary school years consisted of reading the same picture books over and over until I finally grew out of them. In a way, they were the bedtime stories that society says that my parents should read to me before I headed off to sleep. However, reading these books by myself, and imagining myself as characters in these tales fueled my adoration for reading. The library is an ever growing archive of books that are just at the edge of my fingertips, waiting to be discovered and read. I cannot ever recall an experience when I visited the library, and left with less than three books at hand. The library is my primary source of the newest and best books to read for teens my age, and best of all, it’s free! It is because of this borrowing system that I am able to delve into nightly adventures of fighting off shape-shifting dragons or possibly drown myself in the teen angst of a love triangle. The stories, and my imagination, are endless, and it is all thanks to a certain public facility that puts the page-turning novel into my palm.

There are some people out in the world who do not realize the amount of accessible resources that libraries have open to the community. My family is not one that is well off enough to have our own wireless internet connection, or even cable television. However, we get by just like all families get by. The library near my home provides services that my family does not usually have, a fact that I am grateful for. These include computer cubicles, private study rooms, a community room, and even copying and printing at the cost of pocket change. The most obvious advantage of the library is the free wifi, where my bottom is usually comfortably snuggled into the worn cushions of a armchair, a laptop resting on my thighs as the clacks of the keys drift into the silence. However, the main reason that I love this particular library near my house isn’t because of the materialistic resources, but for the loving staff. Every time I step through the double doors, I am welcomed by open arms and warm greetings by the people at the counters, by the librarians stocking shelves, and more. They are almost like a second family to me. Despite the chilling air conditioning, and forgive me for being cheesy, but I am warmed on the inside from the love and care that is provided for me as soon as my worn sneakers touch the carpet.

Obviously, when one goes to a public library, one must encounter part of the general population. In other words, you have to interact with people. To be honest with you, my people interaction skills a couple years ago were not the best, especially since I would’ve rather talked to a book than a real human. One should never underestimate the secret powers of a library. This second home turned my personality into a complete one-eighty on who I was in the past. The people I have cultivated a relationship with are the craziest and most passionate people that I have ever met, and my love for them knows no bounds. One example, or two, are two of the clerks of the front desk, whose names I would like to keep concealed for the purpose of this essay. I occasionally feel guilty for holding up the line when I talk to them while they work, but when we get into the plot of the book, we do not simply get into it. Our hands are like explorational surgeons that basically dissect this book until all is out in the open. The lengthy discussions we have couldn’t even compare to any other conversation that I have ever had with others, which shocks me to the core when nostalgia bubbles to the surface. However, the library made this possible, and the people I met made who I am possible, and I couldn’t be anymore gratified.

My community public library is the place that I have been simply infatuated with since I could walk. Undiscovered and amazing stories sleep within its alcoves and the building swells with the wave of people who come to use the desktops or copy machines. Fellow bibliophiles comb the shelves and conversate in our language of plots and characters. The aroma of turned pages waft gently to my nose and the plastic covers shimmer with stars from fluorescent lights. To compare my favorite place to anywhere else, it is simply home.
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