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As Arthur Read, my favorite aardvark, would say, “Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.” Well, it was hard. I didn’t have my library card. Again.

The librarian probably had me on “recent history” since this happened so often, so she just looked me up on the computer. I, the little glasses-wearing 9-year-old patron, simply wanted to check out a book, but now I had two problems: I did not have my library card and my fines were too high to check out.

Pulling out the dollar bill I had found in my duct tape wallet, I paid the 20 percent of my fine that let me check out a book and left, gritting my teeth. If I could have checked out a book called “Handling Money for Kids,” I would have, because most of my “wealth” went right back to the library.

Thanks to my mom, I practically had a library card from birth. I would go to my library not just to read books but to be immersed in them. I would find my stool, sit in the children’s area and read. I would get dropped off at the library while my mom worked, and I would follow my usual routine: sit, read, return, repeat, and if I was lucky, check out.

The purpose of my visit was usually the same: read books or play on the computer. But as I grew up, I realized that things had begun to change. My mom began coming to the library with us more often. While I would be reading or finishing homework, she would be right there, typing beside me. Our worlds coexisted, but for a reason.

For three years, my mother was unemployed. As a single mother, the struggle of not having a job, home or car was immense. I stopped my usual routine and was fine with it. With two tabs open, I continued on with my work.

I would log on daily to Zillow, job search websites and websites about stroke rehabilitation for my grandfather, asking if any of my findings would work. “Gracias, mija,” my mom always said, but I realized the stress ensued. We were in different worlds, but they collided.

When we had nowhere to live, we would spend hours at the library, using what I thought to be the key to the world: library computers. Whether it was at our childhood library or the library 40 miles away by the farm where we were staying, the library was this stability.

Sitting behind the service desk today, I see and hear it all: the little girl begging to check out Junie B. Jones, the boys playing Roblox on the computer, the woman filing her taxes, the call from “Sports Guy” asking for the latest results, the woman asking about the weather.

I hear Spanish, English, Somali. I get the usual rule-breakers: kids running, out of breath, to the desk asking, “Can I have a Guest Pass?”

At first, the slowly printed receipt is just a number, but I soon realize it is much more. I was once saying, “My mom forgot her card” or “When does the library close closed?” or “Can I use the phone?” Back then, I was the patron on the computer, the kid in the reading area. Now, I am the specialist at the desk looking up the forgotten library cards. Sitting at the desk does not make me forget my past, it helps me embrace it.

The library gives people access to a resource that opens doors in one way for one person, and in others for the next. Even after my mom got a job, the library remained a source of security and comfort. By working at a place that gave me so much, I have learned to give back. I now have the opportunity to open the library to others, just as it was opened up to me.
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我最喜欢的土豚Arthur Read说:“当你拿到图书证时,想要玩得开心并不难。”不过,这对于我来说有些难。我和往常一样,又没带图书证。

因为我总是没有图书证,我的名字应该上了管理员系统的 “历史记录”,她一搜就从电脑里搜索到我了。我,一个戴着眼镜的9岁小顾客,只是想借本书,却遇到了两大难题:我没有图书证,而且,罚款太高,我负担不起。

我咬紧牙关,从手工钱包里找出了几美元,支付了20%的罚款,这样我才能借出一本书。 如果我能借出一本名为“帮助孩子理财”的书,我一定会借,因为我的大部分“财富”都用来支付给图书馆。





我每天都会登录Zillow、求职网站和为祖父看中风康复相关的网站,询问妈妈我找到的信息是否帮得忙。“Gracias, mija. (谢谢,我的儿子。)”我妈妈总会说这句话,但我知道生活的压力还在继续向我们袭来。我们生活在两个不同的世界,但经常发生交汇碰撞。



如今,坐在服务台后面,我看到并听到很多事:一个小女孩乞求借出Junie B. Jones,男孩们在电脑上玩Roblox,一个女人填写税务申报表,“体育男”打电话询问最新结果,一个女人在询问天气。






1. 作者讲述了单亲妈妈抚养子女长大的故事,选取了非常独特的场景:图书馆,母女俩在图书馆工作、学习和成长,细节到位;

2. 故事提升点:强调自己在回馈社区。