Friday, July 13, 2012

"Libraries and Me" ... by Laureen Kwock

I became a writer probably because I love libraries. My childhood memories start with the Saturday drives our family took to the Kaimuki Library, the nearest public library to our home in Aina Haina. This was the old Kaimuki Library on Koko Head Avenue with the shiny wooden floors. 

The library seemed enormous, filled with books, and I would dash to the children’s section to pick out two to hand to my mother to borrow for me. When I got my own library card I felt empowered. I could borrow what I wanted on my own. What a gift!

My affair with libraries continued through the years. At St. Augustine’s School, which I attended from kindergarten to eighth grade, we’d troop two by two to the Waikiki-Kapahulu Library to listen to the librarian explain the Dewey Decimal System to us.

When Aina Haina got its own branch library I would be there whenever I could, trolling through the New Books section. It was in this neighborhood library that I discovered Georgette Heyer’s Regency Romances.

After I got married I lived by the University of Hawaii Manoa campus. I’d walk up the hill from my Moiliili apartment to the University’s Hamilton Library to do research on my own Regency Romances,  thrilled when I found an actual copy of White’s Betting Book in the stacks.

Over the years I’ve borrowed and returned thousands of books, been entertained, informed, awed and sometimes bored by what I borrowed. And whenever I see a young child with a big stack of books I smile. There goes another budding writer headed for the checkout line.