A push through the door became a love of libraries

Written by Bob on January 24th, 2012


The Zumbrota Carnegie Library built in 1908.

YUCAIPA, CA – When I was about 9 or 10 in the late 1950s, my mother started taking me every Saturday morning to Zumbrota’s (Minn) Carnegie Library. Actually, she forced me to go. I hated that old library. And I hated reading.

But my mother insisted that her eldest son, who failed second grade because he fell way behind in reading, was going to become – at the very least – a passable reader.

So off to the library we would trudge on Saturdays.

I had a choice, either I could choose a book to read during the coming week, or she would do it for me. Stubborn at first, I forced her to do the picking, while I pouted my displeasure. But slowly I metamorphosed from a pouter into a youngster thrilled about his Saturday trips to the library.

I especially enjoyed anything about baseball and basketball, horses and cowboys. With the Black Stallion series one of my favorites (The Black Stallion, The Black Stallion Returns, The Black Stallion’s Filly…).

Within a short time, my persistent mother had transformed her stubborn son into an avid reader. And to this day, I read one or two books a week; regularly scouring libraries used bookshelves for reading treasurers.

I look back at those Saturdays with fondness, and mentally inhale the musty smell of that old library – built in 1908 – with its dark brown, oaken and mahogany reading tables and tall shelves filled with wonderful books.


Me sitting in front of the old library several years ago while home for a visit.

The libraries I frequent today (at least once a week) – the accommodating Yucaipa Library and the ultra-modern Hemet Public Library, and Fontana Lewis Library and Technology Center are marvelous treasures for a city’s residents. I’m amazed at what they offer.

As I write this, I’m sitting at computer table typing this story on my laptop. In a few minutes I’ll connect to the Internet (a free Wi Fi library service), and I’ll post the story to my website and Facebook.

And If I want, I can check out one of those fancy portable electronic readers – a Nook, Kindle or Kobo – for free. As I look around the library, people are busy using over 40 desktop computers that the library furnishes. And again, no charge. At the front desk, three people stand in line checking out books. All it takes is a library card. Free of course.

I can also check out a DVD movie, sign up for a computer class. And If I have trouble reading as I once did over 50 years ago, I can sign up for the “Let’s Read Together” literacy program.

What a wonderful and valuable resource, our libraries. And for me, my joy of going to the library, and my love for reading started in that musty (yet wonderful) smelling Zumbrota Carnegie Library with mom pushing me through the door.


Libraries, one of a community’s greatest learning resources.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Metta says:

    I did the same with my children…always taking them to the library to find that special book. We used to spend our evenings each in our own chair in the living room reading the books we had chosen. Jeramiah, Serobert and I are still avid readers because of our mother!

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