The next day, when the bell rang to release us from school, I hid in the coat closet for a few minutes. I thought if I got to the library a little later than usual, I might be able to avoid any of the other kids who might be turning up there.
When my teacher came in and found me by the art smocks, I told her I was looking for my jacket. She laughed and said, “You’re wearing it, silly. It’s time to go home.”
I moved slowly enough that I missed the crush of parents and cars that usually ringed the school after school. I also missed the crowd that usually made the crossing together. The crossing guard was still there, though and waved me up the street with her gloved hand and a curious tilt of her head.
I passed the yellow house, the green house and the blue one. I was glad that the dog didn’t bark at me like it did last week.
I arrived at the library with some sense of relief and pushed open the front doors. I tried to avoid the circulation desk this time. I just headed straight down the stairs to get back to my book in the comfy chair in the storeroom.
All day I’d been looking forward to reading the next chapter in the comfy pea green chair. I collapsed into the comforting, well-worn corduroy seat and rested my head against the side for a moment, relieved. I’d made it here without running into anyone.
I reached for the novel on the table where I’d left it – but it wasn’t there. I thought maybe one of the librarians had re-shelved it. Maybe it was on the shelf where I found it? I walked over to the shelf and it was empty. Then I noticed the entire bookcase was cleared. There were no books on it at all, just little balls of dust and a few stray pieces of paper. I was disappointed. I'd thought about that book all day at school. Maybe there was another copy upstairs.
I looked around the storeroom and I noticed that all of those bookcases were empty too. How did they clear out so many books in a day? A project like that should take weeks, I would have thought.
I walked to the garage to see if my dad might be around. But the bookmobile was out so he must have been out delivering books. It was strange, too, all the piles of books that usually ringed the garage were also gone. It was all strangely quiet.
Given that there was nothing to read down here anymore, I decided to go upstairs and ask the librarians or the ladies at the desk what was going on.
It was quiet upstairs and I quickly discovered that there was no one at the circulation desk. I turned to pay my respects to all the books in the adult section that I looked forward to reading one day and found, to my horror, that all of those books seemed to be gone as well. The shelves looked like a forest of ladders - not bookshelves. I ran over to them to investigate…maybe the books were just hiding? But no. Every single shelf was empty. I checked. This was very bad.
I ran into the children’s room, ready to get some answers about what had happened from Ms. Derrida, the children’s librarian – but no one was at the desk. I looked around and discovered the shelves in the Children’s Room were empty, too. Every single book in the entire library was gone. This was a disaster.
And no one seemed to be around. Were they all in the staff room trying to find the books?
I wasn’t supposed to go back there by myself but this was an emergency so I knocked and went in.
It was empty. There were no books on anyone’s desks and there wasn’t a single librarian back there. I called out. I was nervous about making such a big noise in a library – but this was turning into a real emergency. The library was missing, not only its books but also all of its librarians.