When 20 words just aren’t enough…

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Mississauga Central Library, a fitting day for my first blog post.  I have fond childhood memories of visiting the Central branch; my dad would drive us down on the occasional summer Saturday morning.  It was so delightful to be free from the usual chore of grocery shopping and instead spend the day luxuriating in the company of books, language and literature.  The Central branch was so much more expansive than my cozy home branch.

Like a homing pigeon, I’d zero in on the shelves lining the right side of the first floor (it’s been renovated since and the arrangement is different today).  There, I’d find several volumes of “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz.  Having read and re-read the two or three copies at my local branch, this was richness!  (Later, I discovered and mastered the ability to place holds.)  I’d eagerly devour the strips about Charlie Brown’s unrequited love for the little red-haired girl, Sally’s school tribulations, Snoopy’s many alter egos (including the World War I Flying Ace), Peppermint Patty’s battle against the dreaded D-minus and many more.  I’d vacillate in the delicious dilemma of which books to read on site and which to check out.

On the other side of the first floor were the turnstiles housing Young Adult novels.  Here, I’d gravitate hurriedly to the Sweet Valley High series, created by Francine Pascal and written by Kate William (no relation to the royal couple).  I’d soak in the exciting adventures of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, identical twins living in Sweet Valley, California.  Some novels would contain tantalizing excerpts of the next book in the series; it always gave me a feeling of triumphant discovery to find the newest book on the turnstile and eagerly discover the events about which I had been speculating and fantasizing, based on the excerpt.

Today, the library has changed significantly.  Children’s literature has been moved to the basement and I can no longer find the large selection of Peanuts comic books in which I used to delight so heartily.  The SVH collection, although still located on the first floor, has dwindled considerably.  Several of the changes are welcome, such as the “Lit Pit” which provides a place for patrons to eat and drink, thus making it possible to spend the “whole day” at the library, far from the madding crowd or at least Square One, the largest shopping mall in Ontario.

I am also a big fan of the study rooms on the second and third floors; judging by the challenge in finding an unoccupied space, I am not the only one.  Several computers and study tables have been added, the research facilities now available to students are more diverse and accessible than before and patrons can receive Twitter updates via @mississaugalib.  This is all evidence of a library that has kept up with the times, finding itself an integral part of the 21st century and remaining an instrumental tool in public education.

Still, when I am feeling nostalgic for “the good old days”, I wander over to the other side of the SVH bookshelf and run my finger along the M’s until I land on that icon of Canadian literature, Lucy Maud Montgomery.  Diving into “Anne of Green Gables”, “Further Chronicles of Avonlea” or “Kilmeny of the Orchard”, my soul is filled with comfort and peace.  I can go home again.

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About Saranya Murthy

Voracious reader, aspiring writer, wordplay and personal growth enthusiast, English language and nature lover, 96.3FM fan, software developer
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2 Responses to When 20 words just aren’t enough…

  1. Saranya, so great to see your brand new blog!

    I remember having a similar feeling when I went back to York U’s library after some time. I always had this feeling of utter awe when I would walk in and I could feel the the intellect and wisdom that surrounded me in the form of books. To this day, I love textbooks. Sounds a bit strange, right? I have yet to find a fiction novel to hold my interest beyond a couple of pages, but put a good psychology or sociology book in front of me and my heart starts racing! This might explain my load of possibly extinct university textbooks currently collecting dust in my basement. I’ve yet to build the courage to part with them just yet. Some day 🙂

    • Lydia, thanks so much for your comment! I really like your quote “I could feel the the intellect and wisdom that surrounded me in the form of books” — beautifully expressed.

      A love of textbooks does not sound strange to me at all 🙂 I have quite a collection myself! I can relate to your love of psychology; when I was growing up, my mother was studying Early Childhood Education. I would enjoy digging into her textbooks and reading the different case studies and conclusions. One of my professors, Rhona Berengut, introduced me to some fascinating texts on male and female archetypes and managerial communication skills. Very interesting material. Like you, I still have those texts.

      The 2011 summer fiction read I enjoyed was “Sisterhood Everlasting” by Ann Brashares. I thought I’d mention it because the characters come across as extremely self-aware so I found their ruminations and internal dialogue fascinating from a psychological perspective. I thought it was different from the usual novel, in a good way.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond! I appreciate it. Have a wonderful day!

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