by Nancy Casey
You can use your writing practice to ride out a heat wave if you take yourself on a field trip to the delicious air conditioning in the public library—and write about it.
If you aren’t a big reader of books, you might doubt that there can be much in the library for you. The library has a lot more to offer than books, however. You can think of it as a place for people who are curious about the world. If the world is feeling a little dull to you, the library can make it interesting again.
Unlike a store, a restaurant, or a movie theater, you don’t need money in your pockets to enjoy what’s in the library. The only rules are basic manners: keep your voice down, be polite, and don’t break or steal things.
Libraries are a perfect place for shy people. You don’t have to mingle or talk to strangers. You don’t even have to talk to the people you know. You can relax in a good seat at the edge of the room and watch what’s happening—or just fool around on your phone. Nobody will think you are a wallflower who doesn’t know how to make small talk. They’ll just think you are someone who happens to be in the library.
There is plenty to look at in the library. Usually a display or two with interesting things to check out. Bulletin boards with information about the community. Children doing the goofy and clever things that children do. All types of people just being people.
You can learn about anything in a library. Librarians are trained to help you find anything you are looking for. They like it when you ask. A librarian can point you to books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and computers where you can learn about things you care about.
Wander around and see what kinds of books they have. Books in the sections on arts and crafts can show you the huge variety of things that people can make. You can even learn how to make them if you are so inclined. Do you like science, or history? Music and poetry? Weightlifting? Rocks? Bikes? Animals? Religion? Classic cars? It’s all in the library somewhere.
You can pull any book at all off the shelf just to ask yourself, “What’s this all about?” Open it up, page through it, and put it back. It’s fun to wander around and allow yourself to be impressed with all the things a person could know.
You don’t have to read books to enjoy them. “Oversize” books are some of the best. These are the books that are too tall to fit on the regular shelves and weigh a ton. They tend to be full of amazing photographs—art, cities, wildlife, outer space, people, and anything else you can imagine. You can lug a couple of them to a table, turn the pages and enjoy what you see.
You can flip through magazines, too. New ones or old ones. Look at pictures and advertising, read a story or two. You can also read the newspaper.
For your writing practice today, take yourself on a field trip to the library. Expect the unexpected. Relax. Beat the heat. Write about what you see, hear, do and think.
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Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. Sometimes she teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center. You can find more of her work here. She offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories novels—email email@example.com for more information.