What I talk about when I talk about libraries

— 2 minute read

One of the only artifacts that remain from my childhood is my first library card.

First, a little background. My grandmother worked for the Sunnyvale Public Library in California, which in 1970 had converted their old circulation system to a high tech automated system with key punch library cards.

Once I began attending elementary school I finally got a library card of my own. My grandmother explained what a large undertaking it had been to convert to an automated system and I was given a behind the scenes tour of the imposing and expensive looking computer equipment.

I'd like to give a shout out for the people - many of whom were women - in computer and library science who made the project happen, for it was their work that enabled me to literally hold the future in my hands.

Hey, check it out.

Library Card

The first book that I borrowed was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. I was captivated by Carle's collage style and how several of the pages had die-cut holes in the paper which helped illustrate the progression of the story over time. Just like the protaganist, I ate that book right up! 🐛

Books were obviously cool, and I could return to this wonderful place any time I yearned for more. So that was my beginning in self-education or 'learning how to learn'.

A few years later, before the area became commonly known as Silicon Valley, my family moved to the midwest.