Since it's Thanksgiving week, I thought I'd say thanks to all the libraries of my childhood. There were a lot, all in and around Rochester, NY. I'm thanking the 1970s and 80s versions of these libraries, but I'm sure they are still worthy of thanks today.
The central branch of the Rochester Public Library had a secret room accessible only by pressing a secret button. (This room was immortalized in Daniel Pinkwater's Rochester-centered novel Yobgorgle.) This branch lent super-8 films, and I remember my mother borrowing cartoons in this format for my brother and me.
The Greece Public Library had a lovely story time. Thank you, children's librarians, for reading to me on the weekends after my swimming lesson.
The Penfield Public Library was in an old house, and had lots of nooks and crannies. It probably wasn't the easiest place to find a particular book, since the shelving had to bend around a lot of corners, but it was a great place to find books by accident. I think it was from this library that my mom borrowed prints and paintings to hang on our living room wall.
The Fairport Public Library had a big wooden boat out front, with a wheel that actually turned. Inside, in the young adult area, it had 1960s-style recumbent rocking chairs somewhat like the Dondolo chair pictured above. I remember quite distinctly borrowing about 20 books about sexual reproduction from this library, all at once, when I was about nine, and the staff didn't blink an eye.
The Brighton Memorial Library was in walking distance of my middle school, and I walked there every day after school in the time before my family moved to our new house in Brighton. Thank you, Brighton Memorial Library, for not minding that I hung out in you in a semi-homeless manner for many hours, doing my homework and waiting for my mom to pick me up. And thank you, mom, for letting me start at the new school in September rather that switching mid-year and being The New Kid.
Thank you, libraries everywhere, for existing, for giving us homes away from home, for providing us with books and films and music and art that we could never otherwise afford.