The harsh, buzzing fluorescent lighting spoils the otherwise welcoming environment of this branch of the local library. To the left the librarians are chatting as they check in the books returned. School-aged kids on the computers near the door, what I assume are the latest music videos playing on the screen. Heads bobbing with headphones on.
“This can be your room, and these can be rooms for Piggy, Foxy, and Icicle!” Cece and her friend from school are building a house out of plastic tubes and connectors. Theo takes a break from the toy cars to help as much as he can.
A book catches my eye. I can’t quite make out the title from here but the illustration in the front looks interesting. I walk over and pick it up, feeling the smooth plastic cover with some small curling and rips along the bottom. The familiar scent of ink, paper, and plastic wafts up as I flip through it briefly. It looks like a fun read for the kids and I put it into the tote bag.
Laughter bubbles from the middle of the small, square room, between the adult and children’s bookshelves. Older kids are playing the classic Guess Who game, provided by the library. Such a lively atmosphere, breaking the stereotype of a stuffy, silent study hall.