Hello! I hope you are doing well.
I have something important to talk about today – the importance of libraries and their funding. First, why are libraries so important to me? Well, I cannot imagine what my life would have looked like without libraries. I spent most of my free time as a child and teenager at the public library. I would sit down with the books, all stacked so marvelously around me in their tall shelves, and feel at home. I explored all new kinds of worlds, realms, and lives that I had never thought could exist. Now they exist within me. The beautiful ramblings of shrimpers and high society from Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. The struggle and heartbreak of loss and a ghostly daughter from Beloved by Toni Morrison. The power of love and a quest for good in the world from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (a trademark reading for any young child from my generation). My vocabulary grew; my comprehensive skills increased; and above all, my love of the written word transcended my real life and allowed my imagination to give birth to my own scribblings. I learned to use writing as a method to cope by writing in a journal; I know it is a rather common coping mechanism, but it is so popular for a reason. I also was able to craft my own stories, short, long, quick, slow, stylized or just ramblings themselves. Books have freed me from only living in one time period, one place; I can live in any time, any place I want now!
Libraries are also not just for reading anymore. (Although, I mean, cmon, there must be something that you like to read!) They are places where people search for jobs, build their resumes, have free access to computers and the Internet, have access to printing, copying, sometimes faxing. They are places for gatherings, meetings, studying, and learning. Some libraries have maker spaces, where crafts, ideas, and knowledge are shared. In some libraries, you can rent a bike, participate in a book club, or even create your own game.
So, here is my plea to you – that is if you love libraries too, or at least think that they are important part of our local communities. Call your representatives – tell them to make sure that funding does not disappear for libraries and information institutions. You can easily find them here: EveryLibrary – Call Congress to Support IMLS. There are petitions that you can sign as well. Here is another website where you can review the proposed budget for the 2018 year and learn more about how to save libraries: District Dispatch.
Finally, and above all, go use your public library! I’m sure that they would love to see you. Don’t forget when you check a book out as a child, or when you have an exam to study for in college and you took refuge in the university library. Libraries will always be there for you, so perhaps it’s time to be there for them.