Librarians are the cat’s pajamas

Isnt that great? Cats pajamas. It couldnt be dogs pajamas because a dog wouldnt wear them. But a cat – I can just picture a sleek cat wearing silk or tailored pin-striped cotton nightwear. I wonder who came up with the term? I imagine it was someone like Capote, and it was probably Holly Golightly smoking a lean cigarette in a long holder who drawled the line.
Anyway in my opinion, librarians are it. I have an abiding fondness for teachers as well. Not the majority of the ones who taught me, not the ones who dont get my son and should just leave him be, but in general I do. Two of my dearest friends are teachers and a more under-appreciated and difficult career I cannot imagine, but librarians get to teach and mold and all that great stuff without being part of the establishment and the school curriculum and everything that tries to pigeon-hole and squash kids who are different, and for that they get my ever-lasting and profound support and admiration. They also reciprocate to the nth degree, so I heartily advise all authors out there and especially childrens book writers to cultivate a relationship with their local libraries.
I remember when I was a kid and we used to make a weekly trip to the library. It was housed in a big gray stone building, there was lots of polished wood paneling and leather seats- I may be embellishing a bit but I do recall that it was a huge place. We were limited to six books at a time and that proved to be most frustrating. I was a voracious reader. I didnt like people much (as I think Ive mentioned before) and I was the kind of kid who left their own birthday party to go up their bedroom with their new books. I would lug home my backpack laden with that weeks choices and plop myself down in my mothers armchair which was almost round with high sides so you could sit across it with your legs dangling over the edge and I would read. I remember when I borrowed Lord of the Rings (I believe I was 11 or 12 at the time- not that Im one of those annoying people who says they read “Ulysses” at age ten) and (another side note here- there were no restrictions on what we could take out although I never experimented with trying to borrow Henry Miller or anything) I sat in that chair for what must have been 6 hours completely immersed in Frodo and Strider and all the rest. And when I got up for a glass of milk or to use the bathroom my bottom was numb.
My parents, both teachers, had a house-rule. No book was off-limits to us (and fortunately my fathers book-case included Miller, and Hardy and D.H. Lawrence for when I was old enough to want to scour books for the naughty bits) and this is the case in my house too. I want my kids to be excited by books.
This brings me round in a big circle to librarians. My son and I visit the library every week and come home laden with twenty or thirty books. His school‘s library has different activities from keeping writing journals, to assigning reading buddies to bringing in local authors. Ive done workshops with the fourth grade there and at the public library I have an ongoing series of writing workshops with a wonderful group of burgeoning authors. It keeps me fresh, it keeps me sharp and catching that excitement from a bunch of kids, makes me a better writer.
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