Somewhere in the midst of the pandemic, the local newspaper published a survey, asking readers what they were missing most—things like restaurants, bars, theaters, barbershops. Nowhere on the list was what I missed most: my local library.
Sure, I wish I could stop in at J&S Hamburg or Sleder’s Tavern. And even more, I wish I could get a haircut. But if I had to choose, I’d rather have a book.
Biking past the Traverse Area District Library, I think of all those books waiting silently on shelves, wondering where their readers have gone. All those cozy chairs sitting empty in alcoves, those handsome wooden tables yearning for laptops.
Yes, I have books at home, shelves of them. But mostly, they are books I’ve already read and reread. Desperate, I’ve been rereading them again. I even grabbed “Jane Eyre” off the shelf and dove in—still captivated by the tale I know by heart. But Reader, she married him and the story ends.
So I bike past the library without stopping and continue across the bridge over the Boardman River. Looking down, I see glimmers of light off the water reflecting up through the wooden planks, blinking a message of hope and renewal. It lifts my heart, somehow. Readers, we will be back and the stories will begin.