A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
I LOVE libraries! There, I’ve said it.
It ought to be on a billboard, in neon or blinking from the Goodyear blimp. On a bumper sticker: I heart libraries. *blissful sigh*
Here’s a secret– I go to the library more often than I go to the grocery store. Obviously, I believe in the old adage that “man cannot live by bread alone”.
To me, libraries are places of possibilities. You can learn something that can change your life or just make it more pleasant, you can read old newspapers or magazines and travel back in time. You can look at a map or an oversized book of a far away land or one that only exists in someone’s imagination. You can find strange music, obscure movies, authors you never heard of, each can open your mind and make you think of things that never occurred to you. A library is like a treasure chest, just waiting to be opened. And best of all, everything in it is free!
In the U.S., it doesn’t cost anything to get a library card, which allows the holder to take out numerous books, CDs, videos, magazines and newspapers and keep them for several weeks. After that, one can usually renew those items to keep them longer. If a library doesn’t have what you’re looking for, they can order it from another local library or one elsewhere in the state. A poor nobody has as much access to everything as a rich well-connected person, the egalitarian spirit of libraries is to be admired.
Those who work in libraries are a type of guardian. They guard the treasures of the past, especially when authors donate their papers and correspondence or where there are actual old books and documents, sometimes centuries old. Librarians also guard your freedom to read, as the annual “Read a Banned Book” week shows. Or the fact that most libraries resist any form of censorship on their computers. So instead of the stereotype of a timid woman with a bun, librarians ought to really be portrayed with armor, defending your rights.
On a more personal level, I registered to vote at a library and taught myself to use a computer in one. I often hid from bullies in the school library and got materials there to block out the anxiety caused by my dysfunctional family, making libraries a literal sanctuary for me. To this day, whenever I bring home a stack of library books, it feels like I’ve got a bakery box of pastries and I can’t wait to gobble them up.
So forgive me for all of the gushing enthusiasm about the subject, it’s hard to control my passion for libraries. But I’d wager if you’re reading this, then you must have some warm feelings for libraries yourself.
Nifty graphic from Plattsburgh schools