On our two long distance tours, this year and last, we have had the chance to frequent several public libraries. Dave and I were never turned away from using the internet; only one time was the fee prohibitive for us ($5). Usually it was free or a very minimal charge, and we always seemed to have plenty of time. We used the internet for the typical reasons: checking email, updating the journal, searching for Warmshowers hosts in upcoming towns, or planning our departure at the trip's end by either plane or rental car.
But we have two special memories of library visits. The first was on March 30, 2011 in the small, historic town of Washington, Louisiana. It was a cool and cloudy day, and had been a short riding day; we arrived in town by noon. We headed for the library for the usual tasks since it had been a few days since we had checked email or updated the journal. The library had just a few computers but being the middle of a weekday there weren't any other patrons. The welcoming librarians directed us to the two that worked the best, but not before asking us the usual questions about our trip, which was crossing the US on the ACA Southern Tier route from west to east. We were just finishing our work when one of the librarians returned from her lunch break; she beckoned us into the back room where she placed on the table a container of something that smelled great. It was a delicious dish of shrimp creole from one of the town's best lunch spots, the Cafe Opera. What a wonderful treat!
After enjoying the special lunch these kind librarians then helped us print and make copies of our absentee ballots so that we could prepare them for mailing that day. One of them told us to come back if we needed anything else after going to the post office. And sure enough we did return for her to witness our signatures before rushing back to post them before we headed over to the campground where we had decided to stay. We are so grateful to these terrific women who made our day in Washington, LA unforgettable.
Our second special library experience is a tidbit, but also memorable. On the same trip last year, in the town of Madison, Florida we stopped at the library shortly after lunch, but not for the usual reasons. I had terrible stomach cramps, from overindulging in one of those Southern buffet lunches that we could never pass up. As I sat on the outdoor bench in pain, Dave rode to the nearby convenience store for some antacid. He had gone inside to ask its whereabouts, and the caring librarian came out a couple of times to make sure I was ok. During the half hour that I recuperated outside after his return; she kept making sure I was still ok while he used the library computers. Soon afterward we were back on the road; I was pain-free and once again we were so appreciative of the kindness of librarians.