When I drove the library bookmobile in the '90's, I used to long for the return of Daylight Saving Time. Our stops at Chaires, Miccosukee and Fort Braden ended at 7:30 p.m. In winter, we would return to the main library in total darkness until we came to Capital Circle. We would pull into the library garage at around eight o' clock.

It wore you down, the dark and the cold, on top of the odd loneliness of the bookmobile librarian. I was everything to the people who waited for me to come; the country folk, the elderly, the prisoners; and almost nothing to the rest of the library staff. Out of sight, out of mind. I carried a folding knife, just in case, (yes, bookmobile librarians carry knives).

We thought of ourselves as the "Marines of the Library", in the sense that bookmobile stops were "beachheads" that might later become full-fledged branch libraries. Several of my stops in the '90's have been replaced by branch libraries now. Our library director once gave me a toy soldier that I still have on my desk.

What a comfort it was, then, to return home in daylight, before the sun went down. Back to the land of the living.

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