Library Fieldtrips

April 20, 2009
By Betty

The trip to the library on a city bus brought memories of the long-ago past.

I’d never ridden in a bus of any kind, anywhere. When we drove into a dark underpass with a long train passing overhead, I almost called out, “Stop! Let me off!” But then there was sunny bright downtown where I’d not been for 20 years or more. It had changed – how it had changed!

As I walked into the new, huge Carnegie Library, another library trip flashed before me. There I was walking 30 eight-year old school children down three blocks, across the downtown streets. Partners, two-by-two, both on hand on a long rope, we walked – orderly – quietly.

Inside the library we were met by a friendly, smiling librarian who led us to a quiet corner of a big room. She told us about the library and about books. My 30 school children sat quietly, in awe. They’d never been to a library. They’d never owned a book. They didn’t speak much English.

I wondered how could this be? Never in a library? My mother took the 3 of us every week for years. Birthday gifts and Christmas gifts were always books. Never heard a story read in Spanish?

My first year in the Barrio, knowing no Spanish, I had a lot to learn and a lot of planning a program to fit this new world.

Thirty eight-year olds, partnered two-by-two, each one hand on the leash, we walked back to the school. I called the roll, suddenly realizing I could have lost someone along the way. Whatever was I thinking? A field trip? No Spanish to communicate with – no teacher’s aide, no parent volunteers – Another story, perhaps.

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