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Breaking Point

March 12, 2020

When there was no more Purell to be bought?
Not a problem.  I’d rather use soap and water anyway.

When rumors abounded that stores may see a run on toilet paper?
I laughed at my husband for stocking up and scoffed that we’d need it.

When universities started closing?
I felt sad for the students, missing out on their college experiences, but a part of me hoped that it might mean my own graduate class would move online.

When my own school district closed?
It felt unsettling, but not altogether terrible to have an early spring break, and I could really use the extra time to get those report card comments finished.

But when my husband casually mentioned, as I sat procrastinating at my own computer, “Russell Library’s closing,” I whipped my head to look at his screen.  “What?!” I cried.  “That can’t be!  How could the library close?”

First on my agenda for my first day off from school was to go to the morning yoga class that met too late for a work day.  Second was to go to the library and enjoy browsing for books I’d have time to read.

I pulled up the library’s website on my own computer.  My husband must have it wrong.  They couldn’t really be closing for long.

But there it was on the screen.  “Closed beginning March 13 until further notice.”

“NOOOOOOOOO!” I shrieked.  In the back of my head, I could laugh at myself for this stereotypical cry, but in the forefront of my brain I was panicking.  What time was it now?  When did the library close?  If I left now, I could still make it there.

Nevermind that before I left school I had gathered an armload of books to bring home and read.  Nevermind that I have an entire bookcase dedicated to “to-be-read books”.  Nevermind that my attic contains more bookshelves of classroom books, many of which I haven’t read.

“I have to go now,” I told my husband, standing up and heading for the stairs.

Upon reaching the library, my brain skittered around.  Should I spend my time browsing the new books?  Go for the young adult section?  Think of a book I’ve been wanting to reread and search it out?  No–that option would take too long.  I hung out near the front desk and grabbed the books that looked good.  No lingering over the first few pages to see if I would fall into the words.  I needed to stock up.

When the library gave their final announcement: “The library is now closed.  We are not sure when we’ll re-open. Watch our website for further information,” my eyes filled with tears.

How could the library close? I wondered.  In an uncertain time, I need libraries to keep me grounded. Doesn’t everyone?




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  1. We all have our breaking point. Your described yours so clearly here. I’m glad you made it to the library in time. I hope the closure is brief!

  2. I love the tone of this piece, a shout out to all book lovers. Of course we need to make sure we have MULTIPLE book piles. A reader needs to have choices. All the best during this tough time.

  3. JudyK /J Koval permalink

    This is a difficult time, for sure. I’m glad that you got a few more books to help you make it through. ~JudyK

  4. jumpofffindwings permalink

    This sounds like me, especially the fact that you have a TBR and plenty to read, but the idea of not having the library there…Oh, I so get it! Like you, I always take out more than I can possibly get to, but having them makes me relax, the options! I, too, am a YA reader and still have books from the ALAN conference to get through (that was last November!), but it doesn’t change anything! Love this post!

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