What Would Your Youthful Library Record Say About You?

Over at newauthoronline, Kevin Morris posted about his childhood library record as a reaction to this article posted on The Guardian’s website. Well, I have something to say, too.

While the other responses are mainly about fiction, I rarely read fiction as a child. I was always interested in dinosaurs and space, so you could always find me in the non-fiction and science section of the library. The Stony Plain Public Library saw me checking out this one book in particular many times. I don’t remember the title, but it was a very impressive book about dinosaurs that contained diagrams and drawings of skeletons and skulls. I’d spend hours tracing over the bone illustrations to give a fully-fleshed picture of the dinosaurs. I wanted them to match the shape of the skull closely, so I could see what they really looked like. Of course, we now know many theropods had feathers, but back in the late eighties, we had no idea.

That is the book that stands out for me. I don’t recall what else I checked out, but they almost always involved science. This showed how much I loved science, and still do. I was a nerdy little kid, even though I didn’t have the stereotypical look.

So, what does your childhood/teenage library record look like? Leave your comments below!


19 thoughts on “What Would Your Youthful Library Record Say About You?”

  1. Mine would be all the Christopher Pike teen murder mysteries, kid’s scifi stories and a handful of Time-Life astronomy books that I got out over and over again.

    1. Ooh, astronomy? That was my university degree. They’d be terribly outdated by now, I’d guess. Anything from more than five years ago is very outdated.

      1. I’m surprised that it would popular in Japan, although Anne’s ability to assert herself may be more attractive to girls in Japan today compared to prior generations. I wonder if in Canada it is more popular the closer one is to Prince Edward Island.

        1. It’s one of the biggest reasons people from Japan visit Canada. They go to Prince Edward Island and visit Green Gables. In Japan, they even made an animated version of it.

  2. Thank you for linking to my post on youthful reading habits. I do remember leafing through “The Golden Book Of Astronomy” in braille and “The Story Of Medicine”. The latter was, if memory serves a Ladybird book but none the less informative for all that. A project took place to put the World Book Inciclopedia onto cassette tape and braille and I remember using both versions. I don’t think it is still available in that accessible format. Kevin

    1. I’d have to guess that not many people would use cassette tapes anymore. But I’d think that text to speech systems would be widespread for digital versions. But the books are nice. Nothing like having the physical book in your hands.

  3. The main things I remember checking out from the library as a kid were the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Loved those so much that I even made a version of them on my first website.

      1. There are days when I feel a little bit disappointed that I don’t have The Black Road War (a CYOA book) in my collection. Sure, I don’t NEED it, but I didn’t NEED first-printing copies of the novels from which that book is derived, either.

  4. I’m lucky the people who raised me didn’t find out what I was checking out from the school library. Had they discovered that I’d been reading sci-fi and fantasy novels (*gasp*), the consequences would have been… not good. (Sci-fi is EVIL, y’know, ’cause it encourages kids to imagine people who aren’t humans, and also because of science and stuff.)

    The first non-picture book I ever read was The Hobbit, followed immediately by The Chronicles of Narnia (which I read neither in order of timeline nor publication date — I just read whichever one was available after I’d finished the previous book). Sometime in the 4th grade I got my hands on A Wrinkle in Time. The end of 5th grade was when I read A Swiftly Tilting Planet, but I didn’t even find a copy of A Wind in the Door until the beginning of 7th grade. 7th grade was also when I started reading a lot of science fiction by Andre Norton. Discovered the Dragonriders of Pern series in the summer between 8th and 9th grade. (My clone read Dragonflight at the age of 9, right after Podkayne of Mars, which was HIS first novel to read — first book of any kind, in fact.)

    I read some of the “classics” while in late elementary school: Gulliver’s Travels (the whole thing, not just the part about Lilliput), Swiss Family Robinson (loved it), Robinson Crusoe (only once — I wasn’t impressed), ALL the Jungle Book stories and associated poetry, etc. I couldn’t get into books that were intended for readers my own age — at least not recent ones. (I read more “middle grade” fiction as an adult, when I worked as a librarian. Middle-grade/YA sci-fi from the early to mid 90s… Eh. Heinlein would have a fit. Maybe some kids will tolerate being written down to, but not the ones who are really into sci-fi. Or the ones who are avid readers of any genre.)

    I’m sure I read nonfiction, too, but I don’t remember specifics. Obviously those books didn’t matter as much to me. Wide range of topics, but NO sports stories or anything like that.

    So… What would my library record say about me as a kid? “Thomas is a weirdo. He reads too much, and he reads imaginary stories instead of normal stuff, and he won’t take the full two weeks allotted to read a single book — he keeps coming back for more to read, and we don’t know how to get rid of him.”

    1. I never had a problem with my parents objecting to anything I read. But then, I tended to read a lot of science books. Even so, I’d seen movies with nude scenes when I was a kid, and my parents didn’t have any feelings one way or another. I grew up not being prudish or feeling like I have to hide what I’m reading or watching.

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