Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

The Library

Overall, the library held a hushed exultation, as though the cherished volumes were all singing soundlessly within their covers.
— from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
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I’ve lived across the street from a library for the last few years. When we moved in, I was thrilled we were such a short distance from thousands upon thousands of actual books. My plan was to visit the library weekly, forming personal relationships with all the librarians and garnering the knowledge to direct newcomers to particular sections of the building with a humble smile. I was going to become the best library visitor ever. I was going to be this library’s mascot.

Of course, much like being determined to visit the pool as much as possible and taking advantage of the apartment complex’s gym, I haven’t visited the library nearly as frequently as I’d hoped. I haven’t had a good reason to avoid it. I mean, it’s been there this whole time, offering hours that are wildly impressive by most library standards. All of the librarians and researchers I’ve met have been super knowledgeable and fun. Yet, somehow, I haven’t gone. Hardly at all. 

However, recently, my laptop broke. On one hand, BOO BROKEN LAPTOP, but on the other? Thanks, Universe, for reminding me of the amazing building right across the street! Sitting at a computer in the library takes me back to college. I didn’t appreciate it then like I do now, although I did feel the reverence that every rational person should when within a library’s walls.

I’m surrounded by so many dreams come to fruition. I can see kids excitedly turning the pages of books. Men show up to study together and teach each other how to speak English. Then, there are the quirky ones, myself included. For instance, there’s this lady:

Why yes, she is watching Saturday Night Fever.

There’s the old man who speaks too loudly about how he doesn’t know how to use computers.

There’s me, the girl who wanders through the stacks without any ideas on what she wants to read, not unlike my tendency to hit the grocery store without a list. The desperation that strikes at the library when I don’t know which book to choose is not too far off from grocery store hanger. This desperation is why I typically leave the building with 12 or more books covering a huge array of topics and genres.

I’m sitting in the library right now as I write this. It feels amazing. It’s safe, and it smells like books, and I’m surrounded by other people who love books. 

Somebody’s phone just went off, blaring church bells. It makes sense. I mean, this place is reverent.

Suicide Prevention Month

Therapist: And what do we say when we feel like this?