The Library: Babysitter, Tutor, Friend, and Muse

LibraryIt’s a hot, icky night in Maine, Modern Philosophers, but I still walked to the Brewer Public Library to get a new book.

Whenever I finish a novel, I’m eager to get started on the next one, and I still prefer a real book to the electronic version.

As I walked home, new book in hand, my thoughts drifted to the important role that the Library has played in my life.  Maybe it was the heat, but I started to realize that I probably wouldn’t be the Modern Philosopher I am today with the Library…

When I was a wee lad, still wearing the child sized toga, I’d to go to the Library after school every Tuesday and Thursday.  Those were the days that my Evil Step Mother had to work, so my sister and I would walk from school to the McKinley Park Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

The Library was a safe place to spend a couple of hours, get my homework done, and read.  It wasn’t uncommon to see other school kids there, too, but they were with an adult.  My sister and I were the only ones who used the Library as a babysitting service.

brooklynThat branch, pictured on the left, wasn’t as amazing as the New York Public Library with its mighty lions, but it was a treasure trove for me.

When people ask me where I get the crazy ideas for my stories, I always come up with some wise ass answer.

The truth, however, is that the Library was probably my first Muse.  I always finished my homework quickly (I was a brainiac…I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now!) and then devoured as many books as possible.

I got lost in books, and time flew when I had a good one at my disposal.  They’d fill me with excitement and ideas.  I’d rush home and scribble down stories.  I wanted people to go to the Library someday and be able to take my book off the shelf.

The Library was also my tutor.  This was before the internet allowed you to research anything without leaving the house.  If I had a paper to do for school, I would park my butt at the library and find my answers on the shelves.  My Evil Step Mother was always telling me “Go look it up!” when I’d ask her a question (I had lots of questions!!!), so I’d walk over to the Library and do as I was commanded.

One of the things I most remember about this Library was its location.  It was across the street from The Fortway, the movie theater where I also spent plenty of time and found inspiration for my writing.  It was like a Higher Power had planned this one block of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with this Modern Philosopher in mind.

bobstNYU has an amazing library.  Here’s an interesting fact about the Bobst Library,  pictured on the left: the sports teams at NYU are the Violets (I was on the baseball team, and I can assure you that no one was intimidated by the Violets!), but the NYU mascot is the Bobcat.

Know why?  It’s an abbreviation of Bobst Catalog, the Library’s card catalog system.  That’s even worse than the Violets!

I probably should have spent more time in the Library while at NYU, but I was a Film Major.  I ran around with a camera, was constantly writing, and falling in love with some girl in the dorm, who would grow up to be my ex-wife.  I didn’t need a Library for that!

So I abandoned my good friend during my college years, and I totally regret that now.  More Library and less falling in love might have made for a better life in the long run.

I still go to the Library often, write my blog there at times, and am always seeking out new inspiration on the shelves.

Thank you, Library, for always being there for me.  Have you thanked your Library lately, Modern Philosophers?

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Philosophy, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to The Library: Babysitter, Tutor, Friend, and Muse

  1. hollie says:

    What are you reading? I am reading “The Auschwitz Escape” by Joel C. Roseberg and I have one itty bitty hangup with it but other than that I can’t put it down! I’m even pausing The Bachelorette to watch later so I can get in a few more chapters!

    • Austin says:

      I just started a book called Snow White Must Die.

      A coworker saw me reading it today, and asked me what it was about. I told her it was about 7 midgets who plot to kill a beauty queen.

      It is not the plot, but I thought it sounded good. 🙂

      • hollie says:

        Sounds good enough to me! I have been guilty of making up things for people who won’t know the difference as well. I’ve just finished my book and I’m anxious to get another (even though I have final exams to grade). This was my first from the library for my kindle! I, too, prefer a real book but my kindle fits in my purse and is handy for reading at work. I have my favorite book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” in my car because I’m a nerd like that and you never know when you might get a few minutes to read!

      • Austin says:

        You just like things from Brooklyn… like me. 🙂

      • hollie says:

        Brooklyn is my favorite! I’m moving there in 2025 but I want to visit before then. Be my tour guide?

      • Austin says:

        Sure. It’s been awhile, but I probably still know my way around…

      • hollie says:

        We will have a fabulous adventure! Let’s also go to the NY public library even though I know it’s not in Brooklyn.

  2. raphus2014 says:

    Your blog has brought back memories of my association with libraries from childhood on. They’re the best of places! These days, with internet literally in hand, I also live with a personal library of (so far) 9 bookcases. Just love books!

  3. Norm 2.0 says:

    Yup, I’m due for a visit to our local library. Use it or lose it, right? Thanks for the reminder.

  4. rowanaliya says:

    Ah yes, the library and books! Oh books! I don’t take the time to read as often as I’d like these days but growing up I was always surrounded by books. “Just one more chapter!” Electronic versions do not hold the same power real paper ones do. I need the feel of the pages, the sound as they flip one to the next, the intoxicating auroma telling the book’s own story….

    • Austin says:

      I bet Little Daryl would love the Library.

      I’m surprised there hasn’t been a cool scene in The Walking Dead where there battle Walkers in a Library. such big, open spaces…that would be a fun scene.

  5. Libraries are wonderful places. Even today when the web offers so much literally at our fingertips, the library is always magical.

  6. ksbeth says:

    i love my library so much. it is the source of nearly all the films i see, they have an amazing collection, and books galore )

  7. D. Parker says:

    “Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card. ” ~Arthur (Marc Brown) 🙂

  8. During my parents divorce, I spent a lot of time at the library because it was right down the street from my grandparents’ house. Reading is and always has been a huge escape for me. Nothing beats a public library or used book store. I could spend a day in either one. Books are the only thing I cannot part with, and if I see a title I love on a Goodwill shelf, I must buy it even if there is already a copy at home. My house has books and bookshelves in every room.

    Sad truth: I’ve never been to the New York Public Library. It looks great in Ghostbusters, though. 🙂

  9. 22bus says:

    Your post is awesome! Plz feel free to blog with us at

  10. Be still, my reading heart 🙂

  11. Rebekah says:

    I wish we had a bigger library here.

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