The library is a place; but it can also be feeling. A feeling that’s a mix of belonging, nostalgia, a much-needed hug and, for many, like home. I can’t think of many other communal places you can visit and be welcomed in without paying a dime. Our memories of these beloved institutions are vivid—whether it was decades ago or even just last week.
So, we asked readers on social media, “What’s your favorite memory at the library?” Library lovers flooded the comments with a tidal wave of happy memories. Of course, there were answers like, “All of them!” and “Too many!” One reader was even amazed that memories now extend past the library doors: “I love that libraries exist in person and online through the Libby app!” (Same!)
But you also shared that it was a place to escape. It was where you discovered some of the best books you’ve ever read and got your very first library card. It was also sometimes a weekly tradition to go with mom, dad, grandparents or siblings—a time to look forward to being together.
Join fellow readers in this walk down memory lane with these memories at the library:
I would hide from my bullies in the library at school. They wouldn't DARE mess with the librarians. I would read and wait for the bell to ring to get to my next class.* - srtinker
I'd go every day to do my homework. Sometimes, I didn't behave my best, so here's my apology to the librarian who had to put up with me. Please know my times at the library are among the happiest memories of my childhood. - francinanavarro
When I was 10 years old, there were 5 of us living in a 1 bedroom apartment. My job was to clean it, and I’d get 25 cents to run get a slice of pizza and then I’d spend the whole day at the library. It was my refuge and 32 years later, it is still my sanctuary! - chillerjanow
In basic training when we got our first pass, most headed out to the bars. I hit the library to feed my habit. - Jim K.
Bird Library at Syracuse University near the windows overlooking the campus, twilight, light snow falling. Magical. - kernerMLS
Walking into the San Francisco Public Library. It felt heavenly. Little wonder they did filming for City of Angels there. - drgawilliams16
I went to the St. Louis Public Library to check out Lolly Willowes and it turned out the librarian that I asked for help was currently reading it. She said the other copy they had wasn’t as pretty so she gave me the one she was reading and said she’d finish it when I returned it. 💕 - clovelatte
We had a lady at my local library called the Purple Lady. She worked there for years. She always had a warm smile and could recommend the best books. - ladytwells
The summer I tried to read as many of the Goosebumps series books as I could possibly find in my local library. - ligayareads
Going to the New York City Public Library with my mom and taking out the Madeline series books. Still a library user, thanks to my mom. - cocosmom85
Finding where the Baby-Sitters Club series books were when I was in elementary school. I tore through that section. - spjackman16
At about age 11, I wandered out of the children's section of the library where I had been told to be and discovered the sci-fi books. I knew these were books I was not to read. I tried to hide them between some children's books when I took them up to the check out desk. The librarian never blinked an eye. I thought I was so sneaky and I read them all throughout that summer. - Nina B.
A happy memory: sitting in the music room of the main branch with a vinyl album and headphones, laughing out loud over a comedy album and trying to stifle my laughter among the classical music listeners. - benboo2000
My mom was an avid reader. Living in a tiny rural town, the library was our go-to for books. My little sister and I would check out as many as we could, read them all, then beg mom to take us back for more. -lesliejr
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, my dad would take my sister and me to our local branch on Saturdays. My sister would get a stack of Nancy Drew books; I'd get Encyclopedia Brown. - wjteacher
Our local library used to have storytime and a costume contest on Halloween. My husband would take the day off work and we would take our girls to that event. - Karen G.
As kids, my mom used to take us to the library in the summer because it had air conditioning and we did not. We’d spend all day reading in the cool. It was heaven! - openmypages
When I was in 5th grade, I won the grand prize for the summer reading program: a tent and a water bottle. I couldn't have been happier if I'd won a million dollars! - lisa_of_troy
Going with my mom in the summer to the library for book club and earning pizza from Chuck E. Cheese! - Claudia A.
Grade school-aged me thought it was amazing that I could earn prizes for reading books in our library’s summer reading program, which I already loved doing! I think this started my overall love of the going to the library. - Kelly A.
Readers love the library, and it remains a cherished place that holds all of these memories and hopefully many more to come. We'd love to hear about your favorite memory. To share, just tag the Libby app on social media.
Carla D. put it best: “I have loved every library I’ve ever entered. Just seeing row upon row of shelves of books stirred my heart!”
*Reader submissions have been lighted edited for length and clarity, but heartfelt all the same.