Libraries I Have Known

Dear Darling Ones,

Ms. Heck was the smartest person I had ever met up until about 9th grade when Ms. Marquette, my English teacher, pronounced the word “melancholy” out loud and blew my mind. Knowing words and how to pronounce them is a theme throughout my life.

I majored in Political Science because Dr. Meyers used the word “circuitous” in our first PoliSci 101 discussion class and it was the first time, as far as I could remember, anyone used a word I’d never heard of.

Before Marquette or Meyers rocked my world, there was Ms. Heck. She was our elementary school librarian and she was the greatest thing to ever happen to elementary school me. She was the keeper of the books and the knower of all the things — like where to find issues of Ranger Rick and if there were more Beezus & Ramona books I hadn’t already read.

I loved Ms. Heck so much that a few years ago, when University Avenue Elementary was celebrating its 50th anniversary and posted a bunch of pictures on its Facebook page, I stole this one of her. You can see the latest issues of Ranger Rick and Cat Fancy right there in the picture. Really, libraries are the most magical places in all the land, and Ms. Heck was the queen.

I have strong, vivid memories of nearly every library I have known, except for the junior high library. For some reason Roosevelt Junior High’s library brings up nothing in my memory. Did something traumatic happen there? Probably. Junior high was not a good time.

But all the rest of them? Hell, yes.

I took The Tibbles to the Savage Library once a week every summer for years. We’d always stop and look in the front window where there was a bunch of bowling paraphernalia my dad donated from Dan Patch Lanes.

I discovered John Irving’s books at the Chippewa Falls library. I read everything by Toni Morrison I could find at UWEC’s McIntyre Library. I remember going to a reading in the basement of L.E. Phillips Library in Eau Claire where our Women’s Lit professor dedicated her reading to our class. I met Colson Whitehead at the very epic and beautiful Roseville Library years ago with my writing group.

And now, I literally check out hundreds of books from the local Shakopee Library thanks to an app.

A few weeks ago when my friend, EM, showed me the What’s More Punk than the Public Library t-shirt I was so filled with desire my heart fell right out of my butt. Because, I am trying to be more financially responsible I asked the Wedding Party* if I needed the shirt. Within twenty seconds they all said yes.

This is my favorite shirt now beating out both Stevie Nicks and the wise old owl.

I might never take this shirt off,

*Family group chat including: Sisters #2 & #4, my brother-in-law, Jaycee, Max, and our cousin Lindsay.

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  1. zaramama 19.Sep.21 at 8:14 pm

    I remember the library of every school I attended, as well as the library where my dad took me every Saturday and taught me to read, the central library in my NYC borough (located conveniently on Central Avenue!) and the BookMobile that went around to all the different neighborhoods. Great places, libraries! I really enjoy your blog!

    1. Jodi Chromey 19.Sep.21 at 8:17 pm

      I love that your dad took you to the library. That’s fantastic! And what a great memory (thanks for the compliment. That made me feel good.)


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