Libraries… Because They Give So Much
I truly enjoy libraries.
I consistently and regularly use libraries because I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a book I will only read once. I do buy ones that I will read repeatedly, but overall, I like to keep the number of books on the shelf to a reasonable amount. However, I support libraries for many other reasons, not just monetary.
Libraries are an important part of communities. They have changed over the years, growing not just as a place for books, but into a place to access computers, get involved in programs, see art, listen to authors, even do yoga, depending on the facility they occupy. They are places where people can connect with others and with events in their communities – usually at little to no cost. They are open to all people of any background and means. I think it’s amazing and outstanding that I can read as many books as I want, and if I so chose, attend events, rent CDs and DVDs, for nothing but the occasional late fee. I donate to libraries once in a while, mainly because of this fact – because they give so much.
I have so many happy memories of going to the local library as a child and young adult, of searching the stacks and having the librarian recommend something new to me. Each book was an adventure, a window into some other world. Not all the stories were good ones, but that’s okay. It’s part of the journey.
When I moved to this city, it took a couple of months to get all the details together – proof of address and all that sort of thing – before I could get a card with the library, but it was definitely high on my list for settling into a new city and home (as I have done on other moves). I was so excited about it and told a co-worker when the day came that I would be getting a library card. He laughed and said he hadn’t thought of getting his books that way, having not given libraries much consideration. Which is a shame I think, reading brings me such joy, and there is so much to be learned. I have noticed lately that many people eschew fiction for non-fiction and yet they both have value. People say they feel more inspired by the stories of real people. But there is more to fiction than they realize, in many cases it is the combined stories of many distilled into one story, the novel. And yet much of the details are essentially true, the experiences of others as told to or understood or studied by the author. More meaning can be conveyed through the other facets of the story that just the day to day of one person’s life. In any case, whether it’s non-fiction or fiction, or all of the above, I want people to read. There is such value in this.
When I think about how to build communities and connect people, I think libraries are always – and should always be – part of the mix. For now, libraries are usually supported in part by the municipality or province, but they should not be taken for granted. They need to be used, experienced and supported.