The library of my childhood was across the field from my elementary school. I’d sometimes go there after school to wait for my mother to pick me up; when I picture it now, it’s from the perspective of my height at about 7 years old. I spent long hours there all through my childhood and well into my teens, but that’s the way I remember it: from low to the ground.
It was closed on Mondays, but the back door lock wasn’t very secure and if you wiggled it just right, it would open. I know this because I once got permission to go during lunch recess, only to find it closed; but I wanted so badly to be in the quiet library, with its smell of floor polish and glue and old, dry paper. So I jimmied the door open, and let myself in and wandered around in the midday dim. I sat on the floor cushions in the children’s section, right across from the circulation desk, and read my favorite books, and then I went back across the field to school. I did this more than once, including creeping into the basement where the librarian kept tables full of discarded books, which you could take for free. I was bold that time, and turned the lights on so I could see what I was taking. I must have been considerably older by then, but I don’t remember how old.
I loved that library. I’d pay good money for someone to bottle the scent. I’m sure the back door lock is much better now, but if I’m ever there again I’ll give it a try just in case.