There is an object in my junk drawer. It is my New York City Public Library Card. I don’t really think it is a junk piece. Not at all. I used to live in New York (Queens), back in the late ’80’s. There was a branch of the library a block from my workplace. That was on 1st Avenue and 68th street. Or was it 67th? I would go to the library to borrow books and actually lug them home (walk to the subway, in the subway waiting for the train to arrive, at subway stop where I lived, on the walk home). I don’t know how I managed to bring books home all the way from Manhattan.
I totally love libraries, and the NY Public Library is such a big and great place to find books of all kinds. The card is laminated, has a lion on the front, just like the lion statues on the front of the main library and the text that shows my name is in a maroon color.
I found, while I lived in NY, that New Yorkers loved to read on the subway, in the park, in any place where there was a chair and a coffee to drink. In the subway, one didn’t just stare into space. They read books, mostly to relieve the boredom of the train ride, and to avoid eye contact.
I don’t know now how New Yorkers read their books. Do they have their Kindle? Or read on their iPhone Kindle app? Or do they actually hold an honest-to-God paperback or hardback? I would guess technology would trump tradition in this case. It is easier to read with a Kindle or iPhone, jostled by other subway riders or hanging by the straps trying not to fall into someone’s space.
I am proud to hold a library card from NYC PL. It is something so authentically New York. I should put the card in a frame and have it on display at my desk. Like a badge of having been through life in New York city.
This library card is a symbol of my literary journey. I will keep it safe to remind me that the journey is just getting into a groove.
This library card is also a symbol of hope – hope that one day at least one book of mine will share the shelves of the books in the NYCPL or at least, in our own city library. I don’t really know, however, whether a book, once published, would automatically get added to the NYCPL catalogue of books. In my city library, the members of the library have to submit book suggestions for their library to buy. Not all of their suggestions are taken up. I find that daunting. I now look at my library card and try to remember what books I actually checked out of the NYCPL. Most likely, bestsellers. In fiction, in romance, or mystery. What else would someone who once worked for a living by growing human cells do to relax their mind?