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The Joy of My First Library Card

When I started kindergarten at the age of five I was so terrified because I was entering a world I knew nothing about. My mom and dad would go off to work and I would be alone in a classroom full of little strangers and a teacher. The second reason I was really afraid was because my family spoke Latvian at home and I didn’t speak one word of English. Sure I had learned some English from cartoons on TV but that didn’t mean I could really communicate. Anyway, I got through my kindergarten year and when I started first grade I could speak English better than most of the other pupils because it was my second language.

It was at this time that mom brought me to the library for the first time. The library was the Brooklyn Public Library Bay Ridge Branch in Brooklyn, New York. Once I had my very first library card there was no stopping me. I still remember the way the shelves were set up. Along one wall from top to bottom were shelves full of picture books. Across from there began the shelves full of books meant for older pupils. Well, that very first year I practically went through all of the picture books.

Sure I also watched TV but my way of watching the flickering screen was to have a book on my lap and a coloring book and crayons close by. I think I was planning on being an artist at the time. Anyway, I could be entertained like this for hours and it didn’t really interest me much what was on TV. When I finally knew enough English to take books from the other shelves I found a whole world of wonderful fantasy. I just couldn’t get enough of reading one children’s novel after another. And even though there are so many electronic things plus the computer to keep children entertained nowadays I still think that nothing beats the love of reading.

The photo is of the library I went to.

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