To help celebrate Outside the Lines, our supporters share their personal library stories.
When I was a young boy, my parents would go into town on Saturdays and drop me off at the library. I learned to speed read there.
In 1939, the book Gone with the Wind came out. I was 8 or 9 years old, and I read the book and did a book report on it. When the teacher got my report, she didn’t believe that I had read the book.
‘A 9 year old can’t read Gone with the Wind,’ she said. The teacher called up my mother, and she backed me up.
I used to live in the library. I read everything about the Civil War and about mountains. Thirty or 40 years ago, I started writing myself. I lived in the library when I got started.
I took a trip to Alexandria, Egypt, once and visited the gorgeous library there. The gentleman who gave me the tour said, ‘You can’t go in where the books are. You have to be a member.’ I walked over to the computer and did a quick search, printed out a list. I said, ‘I have nine books on the shelves here. Will you let me in now?’
He let me in.
Clive Cussler — Best-selling Author
My parents divorced when I was young, and I was forever traveling between the east coast and the midwest for summers. When I was in junior high school, I used to spend about 6 weeks in Omaha in the summer, but I didn’t have any friends there. On the first day of my trip, I would go to the public library and borrow a bunch of books, then return and reborrow each week. For three or four summers, I was reading about a book a day while my mom was working. It really opened up my mind to literature, especially fiction.
During my senior year of high school, my bus route changed so that I arrived at school a full 45 minutes before classes started. I started going to the library, and after the third day the librarian told me that they subscribed to the national newspapers and suggested that I read the New York Times. Reading the Times every morning for a year as a high school student had a profound impact on my life — and helped kindle my lifelong interest in policy.
David Vinjamuri — Author, Brand Trainer and Forbes Columnist
What’s your library story?