This afternoon, I started reading The Lake House by Kate Morton. This paragraph made me chuckle and brought back a memory from my own childhood.
'Peter did like reading. He'd read his way through the entire children's section of the Kilburn Library by the time he was eight, a feat that might have been a source of pride and celebration but for the problem posed by him still being years off acquiring the adult borrowing card. Thank God for Miss Talbot, who'd bitten her lip and straightened the library name badge on her lemon cardigan, and told him--a faint quiver of purpose enlivening her usually soft smooth voice--that she would personally ensure that he would never run out of things to read. She was a magician as far as Peter was concerned. Decipherer of secret codes, master of index cards and Dewey decimal, opener of doors to wonderful places.' (p73-74)
I don't recall being limited to the children's section of the public library when I was a kid, but I do remember that when I was in second or third grade, there was a section of the school library for the younger kids and one for the older kids. The younger kids were limited to books from 'our' section, but there wasn't really anything there for me. It wasn't the librarian that came to my rescue, though. In fact, as I recall, she was quite unhappy when I went to the desk with books from the section for older kids and tried to stop me checking them out. When I told her my parents had written a letter to the school, giving permission for me to check out whatever I wanted and she'd verified that, she had to relent. Decades later, when I worked briefly at a public library, I was told at my interview that the library policy was to check out any book to anyone, no matter the book and no matter the age of the borrower. Most librarians I have known are more like Miss Talbot than my old school librarian. Hurray for that!