THE SCHOOL LIBRARY
The whole idea of a study hall was foriegn to me. To actually have an hour in the schoolday where you were not being lectured or writing or taking a test. To have an hour unsupervised where you could work on other classes – or not work at all – now that was news. There had been nothing of the kind in elementary school and the whole notion of being able to make up your own mind about what you were going to do with an hour of school time was a sweet foretaste of independence and adulthood.
What was more was this: in Coach Davidson’s study hall we were given the option to spend the hour in the library. I could not understand why every one of the students there didn’t take him up on that, every day.
After all, in the library you were not confined to one desk, one chair. You could sit at one table or another and get up and walk around the big, airy, high-ceilinged room and pick up books, newspapers and magazines and take then back to your table and read about whatever struck your fancy.
In those days and at my school, the library was a pretty serious place. At least it took itself seriously and had the look of its own. The air or idea was that the library was its own institution, with its own rules and decorum and ambiance, and not just another room in the school. The ancient Miss Grace Delany was in charge of the place and proud of that status. Her oak desk neat, herself impeccably dressed, every hair in place. Reigning in this ordered repository of all of the world’s knowledge. She had grown up before the war and her bearing and attitude was that of a citizen of the old republic. The library was maintained daily – each new newspaper fitted into a long, cane-like handle and each magazine fixed into sturdy, clear-plastic library binding. MORE LATER