I could handle any behavior he threw at me there.
Growing up in Atlanta, I remember my Cloud Climber shoes clanging on the metal stairs as I descended to the library's basement kids' section. I watched Marx Brothers films and realized I preferred their cleverness to the eye-poking humor of the Three Stooges, my first cultural snobbery. The mystery novels my mother checked out added an exotic streak, with their covers showing stylized guns and pools of blood and grandfather clocks and with titles like Tick Tock to Murder.
Now, as a stay-at-home parent, I seek out libraries as a source of comfort and community, a place where I can indulge without spending money, make choices instead of feeling warped by consumerist passivity. My first choice for a good time is the Pittsfield branch.
Saturday morning, sipping my coffee at home, I search the library catalog on my computer. I click "request this title" with an abandon that can only stem from caffeinated optimism and pure euphoria at all the information at my beck and call. The lovely people at the library email me when my selections are ready to pick up.