When I was six, I walked through the towering doors of what was then the Yesler branch of the Seattle Public Library (it has since been renamed the Douglass-Truth branch, in a fitting tribute to Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth). Using a short pencil chosen from the jar at the checkout desk I carefully etched my name on an application slip. The librarian, nameless and faceless to me these many years later, accepted my offering, filled out a manila-folder-tan library card, then pressed her stamp into the the blue ink pad in its flat metal box and imprinted the expiration date - the official seal of libraries everywhere - before handing it across to me.
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