At the reference desk in the Children's Room, I often hear from adults who are looking for a book they remember from their own childhood. And as a lifelong booklover, I get that. The images and stories we encounter early in life make deep and lasting impressions. Sometimes you want to share them with your children or grandchildren, and sometimes you just want to read them again one more time. Here are 3 ways to fall in love all over again with a classic (or just some nostalgic pulp that got you through middle school *cough cough talking magic horses*).
- We have them here! Although you might not see them right away. There are several shelves, rooms, and even partial floors of the library designated as storage for library materials away from the public browsing areas. Some of these materials are older books, books that are popular during certain holiday seasons, or just ones that don't circulate often. Most of these can be checked out like any other book on the shelf; the difference is that a library worker will need to go in and get it for you. In the online catalog, you'll see a note like "Main Library Children's Room Storage - ask at desk". Please don't hesitate to do just that! I love it when books go out from storage, because it means someone is reading them.
- We can get them from other library systems! OPL is part of the Link+ consortium of libraries, and our patrons can borrow items from any of the other participating libraries in California. This includes university libraries and special collections that may have your older favorite on their shelves. Use the online catalog to locate and request a book from Link+, or ask someone working at the desk to help. If the item you're seeking is especially rare, we may be able to find it somewhere in the U.S. or Canada with Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
- We can help solve the mystery! Is a particular picture book cover stuck in your head? Remember a fascinating scene about a picnic and a windstorm or a main character called Susan with a silent number somewhere in her name? Ask us. It may take a couple of days of kicking the question around to other librarians, digging into databases, or searching the awards lists, but often a knowledgeable librarian can come up with the book you have in mind (or several likely options). If you feel like doing some research yourself, try asking LibraryThing or Goodreads.
Please let a children's librarian know what you'd like to read (or re-read) -- we feel similarly about our favorite books from childhood and many others since then, and we want more readers to have that joy.