One day, a few weeks ago, I was sitting in my classroom finishing some last paperwork before heading home for the evening. I was utterly exhausted, it had been a particularly challenging day of teaching. I was so tired that when I finished one piece of paperwork I didn’t even want to stand up and walk the ten feet to return it to my file cabinet.
As I was sitting there, our wonderful kindergarden teacher Emily walked in. “Erika,” she said, “the mail just got brought in. There’s a red bag for you down in the office.”
I am not exagerting when I say I jumped up out of my chair and ran down to the office.
I retrieved the red bag, and then crossed paths with Emily in the hall, “Thank you so much for letting me know! Wahoo! It’s like Christmas!”
Emily replied, “You’re welcome. I was looking closely at it because I thought it might be mine, but this one was for you guys.”
“Oh, I’m sure yours will come soon,” I assured her. With that, we parted ways and I enthusiastically brought the bag back down to my classroom.
I thought about waiting until I was at home to open the bag up, but I just couldn’t wait to see what the librarians had sent us. You see, the sturdy red bag was from the Fairbanks Library. They have a Regional Services division that mails out books to people in rural villages. While it may be an exagertion to say that this service is a life-saver, it is no exageration to say that it is a budget saver. Last year, without access to a functioning library, Kyle and I spent a ridiculous amount of money ordering books for ourselves. We couldn’t give up reading, so we searched for a more economical solution.
As I opened up the bag and looked at the twenty books they sent us my smile just kept getting bigger and bigger. We had filled out profiles about the books we like to read and the librarians there had really figured us out. They sent me Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which had been on my to-read list since Lee told me about it over a year ago. They sent Kyle The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, which he loved. Nearly all the books in the pile were ones that we were interested in reading.
I sent Kyle a text and a picture of the stack of books, as he was in Anchorage for a conference. His reply to me, “Wow, that’s a lot of great books! How long do we have to read all those books?”
Looking at the letter that came in the bag I replied, “We keep them until the next bag shows up, they say it’ll probably be about 10-11 weeks.”
So this has been our project for the last few weeks, working on reading the library books. We have ordered some other new books for ourselves (new releases like Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance, the Steve Jobs biogprahy, and a book by a Barrow author that was nominated for the National Book Award) but are focusing on reading the stack of library books before we have to send them back. Now that it’s completely dark by about 5pm, it’s certainly nice to have these books to read in the evenings.