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Books of Childhood

A story by Lois Keating Learned



My town did not have a public library until the 1960s. Before that, it was assumed that everyone in this upper-middle-class community would have a good selection of books at home. Fortunately, the public schools had adequate libraries for the elementary students. Once a week we’d have ‘library’ for about 40 minutes. The librarian would help us find books and teach us something about the library — how the books were arranged, how to check out a book and the procedure for returning it. As soon as I could read I devoured books! I even used a flashlight under the covers when my mother thought I had gone to sleep. Today my favorites are mysteries and biographies, but back in first and second grade I tried everything. Now I only remember my first take-out book, B is for Betsy. I think it was written by someone named Underwood. She also wrote a book about Billy. Betsy was a child any six to eight year old could relate to. She (and her friend Billy) had ‘adventures’, got into trouble and managed to survive any difficulties by the end of the story. I wonder if they still have copies of this series in local libraries today!

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 B is for Betsy,Carolyn Haywood,librarian,public library
  Garden City, Long Island, NY
May 20 2024


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