Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

National Library Week Tribute #3: Amory Municipal Library

Amory Municipal Library is where I first developed a thirst for books beyond those I had at home. Mrs. Elizabeth Wamble was the head librarian back in the days I was small. Mrs. Linda Reich was the children's librarian. I loved browsing the children's books there. I remember participating in the summer reading program and being one of the top readers. I had read so many books that it was hard to find a book in which my name wasn't on the card. Somehow I pretty much completely skipped the books written for middle schoolers and teens when I was growing up. I remember all of us becoming intrigued with Lois Duncan's Down a Dark Hall. I also remember using some of the non-fiction books for school assignments. I enjoyed the Hardy Boys books, but I borrowed those from a friend instead of the library (at least the ones that had not been handed down to me by my brothers). Around 6th grade, I discovered Phyllis Whitney. I purchased a paperback of Window on the Square at a bookstore in Alabama when my sister-in-law was in the hospital. When I got back to Amory, I went to the library where I began checking out other books by her. When I finished those, I found books with similar covers. (I know they say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I could find those Gothic romance books that way.) I had discovered that my neighbor's mother had checked out a lot of the same books that I was reading. I began looking for her signature on the cards as a means of "readers' advisory." (Remember this was back in the days before the ALA was as concerned about the confidentiality of patron records. A lot of folks looked to see who else had checked something out back in those days. People knew what each other liked to read and could often tell whether or not they wanted to read it by who else had checked it out. I miss the days of cards with signatures sometimes, but as a librarian I have it ingrained in me now that patron records should be kept confidential.) I continued to read all throughout high school. I never went into my high school library except for club meetings. Amory Municipal Library met most of my needs. When we had to do term papers, most of us learned to hit the library at a university when we were on campus to copy a few things. The Mississippi Room at the Amory Municipal Library is the place I visit most there now when I'm in town. That is where the local history materials and microfilm of older papers are kept. My high school history teacher's wife is the head librarian now. My English teacher from my senior year of high school works there some too! There are other familiar faces in the library there who have been there many years! It's a very welcoming environment.

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