Blue Dot Blindness

I re-shelved children’s books at Wareham Free Library’s this morning, returning dozens of picture books, audio books, and serial books to their homes. It’s a peaceful activity that lets me see new books by favorite authors and revisit favorite books my sons have long outgrown. But today, I had an extra task: find and pull out any books with blue dots on their covers. The Onset branch of the library is reopening in a couple of weeks, and the blue dot books belong there.

I didn’t think finding them would be much of a challenge. The dot itself is on the cover near the spine, big and bright enough to stand out. The children’s librarian found a whole bunch of them, but I only managed to spot four. Two were in the “P” section, just around the Junie B. Jones books. The third was a Thomas the Tank Engine book, one among many. The fourth was hiding on the “W” shelf, spine to the back of the shelf, page edges to the front. It felt good to find them, but I’m sure I missed more than I found.

I checked many shelves, pulling books out enough to check for the blue dots without taking them all the way out. Maybe that was the problem – the books were neither in my hands or in their places, lost in an in-between space. Was I really looking at the books, or just going through the motions to get to the end of the shelf? I’m not sure.

Nothing makes me as blind as just going through the motions. I won’t see much when I’m not really looking. Books with blue dots or life, I’ll miss it if I don’t take it in my hands.

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