things i heard at the library: an occasional series: # 8

At the branch library where I'm currently working as a page, the magazine section is along a back wall forming an L shape - the long part full of magazines, the short part with teen magazines and comic books. This isn't the graphic novel section; it's Archie, Amazing Spider-Man, and such. Around another corner from that short wall is a cozy reading area arranged among the youth novels.

The other day, as I was beginning to file a big pile of magazines, I came upon a girl, maybe tweens or early teens, wearing a hijab (not unusual), standing in the very corner of the L, looking through teen magazines. She was facing the shelves so her choice of reading material was hidden, and every few seconds she would look over her shoulder nervously.

I smiled to myself. I wanted to tell her, it's ok, I'll cover for you.

My presence didn't seem to increase her nervousness - she wasn't worried about me - so I continued to shelve nearby while she read. At some point, I noticed she had moved on to comics, still interrupting herself as a look-out as she enjoyed the forbidden fruit.

You go, girl. Libraries are your friend.

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