Monday, April 14, 2014

Childhood library memories

Throughout my almost 3 years of blogging, I've made my love of libraries very clear.  That would seem natural for a librarian.  But it really does deeper than that.  The graduate school I attended was really big on personal reflections, often asking us to internalize what we learned and to look back on what shaped us.  During one of those courses, as I looked back on my love of books and education itself, I realized that one of my earliest and strongest childhood memories was going to our town's public library for the first time.  I can still see the children's room with its dark oak slanted children's tables and its countless shelves of children's books.  Realize that 1950s children's picture books were printed in mostly a four-color process, so those shelves were not lined with the gorgeous volumes that are produced today, but to me they were exquisite.  And the freedom to choose what would go home with me is a thrill that still captures me today. That joy and excitement over visiting the library followed me all the way through grade school, high school, and into adult hood. While some get excited by shopping bags full of the latest fashions, I get equally thrilled by my latest stack of library books.  I got thinking about that again tonight for two reasons. One, there is a meeting coming up at our library, a listening session with the county board president over library funding.  The second reason is this pro-library statement by Christine French Culley I read tonight via FACEBOOK.  I thought maybe some of you blog readers would connect with what she wrote.  Her thoughts echo mine and I wanted to share them.

It saddens me to hear so much press about libraries facing budget cuts and even closures.  I fully believe in fiscal responsibility, but I also realize what a treasure libraries are, especially for those who cannot afford to freely spend on books, magazines, dvds, and even computers.  I also believe free libraries are a keystone to a free country.  Ben Franklin believed it; Andrew Carnegie gave away millions and millions of his fortune to make sure that American towns had library buildings. 
We need leaders today who see that see that same value.  The look of the library may be changing ( some people may get their materials via electronic devices), but I believe that libraries are as relevant as ever.  The need for professionals who help people navigate the expanse of information is needed even more today than before.  The people who don't visit their local libraries and see what programs they offer or don't realize what they can borrow are just losing out.  I truly believe government officials, instead of wanting to cut funding, should be out promoting what the libraries do as a way of showing citizens (taxpayers) that they can get positive results for their contributions. I know of libraries that sponsor workshops on budgeting, wills, estate planning, and such.  The cost to put these on is minimal, but if another government agency put together such a program, I can guarantee the overhead would be significantly greater.  That's just one tiny example of what libraries can do.

If you stop by this blog more than once, you will probably find me rambling on about libraries again sometime.  Thanks for reading, and if you haven't been to your local library lately, GO!! And if you can, take a child with you!

No comments:

Post a Comment