Saturday morning, seven-thirty, Mom and I arrived at the library. It was the lower level of the village hall, all acoustic ceiling tile, wood paneling, and worn-down teal carpet, made more inviting by a few mismatched lamps and comfy leather chairs. The sour stink of the vinegar Mrs. Janssen, the fastidious, bookishly glamorous head librarian, used to clean the coffee urn hung in the air. As it faded, the smell of the books rose, dry and earthy. I was twelve, almost thirteen, and they smelled to me like fall leaves, like jumping into a big pile of them and coming up giggling and spluttering leaves. Mom and I stood in the half dark, letting the library wake up with us, before we flipped on the lights, got the copy machine and the free coffee going. To one side of the circulation desk stood my task: eight or nine carts of returns, often more, waiting to be reshelved.

People on couch
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