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大学申请书选登:图书馆给了我通向世界的钥匙

更新时间:2019/5/30 19:58:29 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Trash, the Library and a Worn, Brown Table: The 2019 College Essays on Money
大学申请书选登:图书馆给了我通向世界的钥匙

Eden Prairie, Minn.

明尼苏达州伊登普雷里

‘When we had nowhere to live, we would spend hours at the library, using what I thought to be the key to the world: library computers.’

“当我们没地方住的时候,我们会在图书馆消磨时间,使用我心目中通往世界的钥匙:图书馆的电脑。”

—Astrid Liden

——阿斯特丽德·利登

As Arthur Read, my favorite aardvark, would say, “Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.” Well, it was hard. I didn’t have my library card. Again.

正如我最爱的土豚亚瑟·里德所说,“当你有一张图书馆借书证时,找点乐子并不难。”好吧,其实挺难的。因为我,再一次,没带借书证。

The librarian probably had me on “recent history” since this happened so often, so she just looked me up on the computer. I, the little glasses-wearing 9-year-old patron, simply wanted to check out a book, but now I had ​two ​problems: I did not have my library card and my fines were too high to check out.

我可能已经进了图书馆员近期“历史记录”,因为这种事经常发生,所以她直接开始在电脑上查我的名字。我,这个戴着眼镜的9岁小顾客,只是想借出本书,但现在有两个问题:我没带借书证,而且我的罚款太多,已经没法借出。

Pulling out the dollar bill I had found in my duct tape wallet, I paid the 20 percent of my fine that let me check out a book and left, gritting my teeth. If I could have checked out a book called “Handling Money for Kids​,” I would have, because most of my “wealth” went right back to the library.

我咬着牙从用胶带做的钱包里掏出一张钞票,付了能让我把书借走的20%罚款。如果能借一本叫做《为孩子理财》(Handling Money for Kids)的书,我会借的,因为我大部分的“财富”都直接回到了图书馆。

Thanks to my mom, I practically had a library card from birth. I would go to my library not just to read books but to be immersed in them. I would find my stool, sit in the children’s area and read. I would get dropped off at the library while my mom worked, and I would follow my usual routine: sit, read, return, repeat, and if I was lucky, check out.

多亏了我妈妈,我几乎从出生起就有了一张借书证。我去我的图书馆不仅仅是为了读书,而是要沉浸在书里。我会找到我的凳子,坐在儿童区,然后看书。妈妈去上班时,她会半路把我放在图书馆,然后我就像往常一样:坐下来,读书,还书,重复这些动作,如果幸运的话,我还会把书借回家。

The purpose of my visit was usually the same: read books or play on the computer. But as I grew up, I realized that things had begun to change. My mom began coming to the library with us more often. While I would be reading or finishing homework, she would be right there, typing beside me. Our worlds coexisted, but for a reason.

我的访问目的通常都一样:读书或者玩电脑。但当我长大一些,我意识到事情已经开始发生变化。我妈妈开始经常和我们一起去图书馆。当我在读书或完成作业时,她也会在那,在我旁边打字。我们的世界并存了,但这是有原因的。

For three years, my mother was unemployed. As a single mother, the struggle of not having a job, home or car was immense. I stopped my usual routine and was fine with it. With two tabs open, I continued on with my work.

有三年时间,母亲失业。作为单身母亲,没有工作、没有家也没有车的困境苦不堪言。我停止了往日的例行程序,也没怎么介意。我开着两个页面,继续着手中的工作。

I would log on daily to Zillow, job search websites and websites about stroke rehabilitation for my grandfather, asking if any of my findings would work. “Gracias, mija,” my mom always said, but I realized the stress ensued. We were in different worlds, but they collided.

我每天都会登陆Zillow、求职网站,以及跟外公的中风康复有关的网站,然后问我找的信息有没有用。“谢谢我闺女,”妈妈总这么说,但我意识到了随之而来的压力。我们处在不同的世界,但它们撞到了一起。

When we had nowhere to live, we would spend hours at the library, using what I thought to be the key to the world: library computers. Whether it was at our childhood library or the library 40 miles away by the farm where we were staying, the library was this stability.

没地方住时,我们会在图书馆消磨时间,使用我心目中通往世界的钥匙:图书馆电脑。无论是在我们童年时的图书馆,还是我们所住的农场40英里开外的图书馆,图书馆就是一种稳定。

Sitting behind the service desk today, I see and hear it all: the little girl begging to check out Junie B. Jones, the boys playing ​Roblox on the computer, the woman filing her taxes, the call from “Sports Guy” asking for the latest results, the woman asking about the weather.

如今我坐在服务台后面,看到也听到了一切:央求着要借走“朱尼·琼斯系列”(Junie B. Jones)的小女孩,在电脑上玩《机器砖块》(Roblox)的男孩,忙着报税的女人,来电询问最新结果的“体育迷”,还有询问天气的女人。

I hear Spanish, English, Somali. I get the usual rule-breakers: kids running, out of breath, to the desk asking, “Can I have a Guest Pass?”

我会听到西班牙语、英语、索马里语。我会遇到那些常见的不守规矩的家伙:孩子们上气不接下气地跑来柜台问,“能给我个访客通行证吗?”

At first, the slowly printed receipt is just a number, but I soon realize it is much more. I was once saying, “My mom forgot her card” or “When does the library close?” or “Can I use the phone?” Back then, I was the patron on the computer, the kid in the reading area. Now, I am the specialist at the desk looking up the forgotten library cards. Sitting at the desk does not make me forget my past, it helps me embrace it.

起初,缓缓打出来的收据只是一串数字,但我很快意识到远不止如此。曾经我说的是,“我妈忘带借书证了”或“图书馆什么时候关门?”或“我能用一下电话吗?”当年我是使用电脑的顾客,是阅读区的孩子。而今我是那个在柜台的专业人员,帮忙寻找遗失的借书证。坐在柜台前不会让我忘记自己的过去,反而会让我接纳它。

The library gives people access to a resource that opens doors in one way for one person, and in others for the next. Even after my mom got a job, the library remained a source of security and comfort. By working at a place that gave me so much, I have learned to give back. I now have the opportunity to open the library to others, just as it was opened up to me.

图书馆向人们提供的资源,会给不同的人开启不同的门。即便在妈妈找到工作后,图书馆仍是安全感与舒适感的来源。在曾给予我如此之多的地方工作,我学会了回馈他人。现在我拥有了将图书馆开放给他人的机会,正如它曾开放给我一样。

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