My memory of my first library card is vivid. I was almost 5 and I remember what a big deal it was because it was the first card that was ever mine. It had power! With my mom at my side at the library information desk in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, a librarian gingerly guided me through the signup process. It felt momentous. Previously, I had only seen adults using cards like this, at grocery stores and banks. I was now mature enough to have one too. I even remember signing my name very meticulously, to avoid error.
When I was a little older, my brother and I put library card pockets in the back of all our books and called our friends over to borrow from our ad hoc library. Minutes later, our friends Abel and Elias had come down the block and were in the living room browsing our “collection.” I remember that as they took their time to make selections, my brother and I silently watched, hardly containing our excitement.
The library was where I learned to read and, as an introverted kid, learned about relating with people through the relationships between characters in books. Coming across this old library card brings back the fuzzy feelings I had about the library growing up. It reminds me to appreciate how our views of the library are shaped and how significant libraries can be in the minds of children.