A big part of me still wants to be a librarian. To be surrounded by books, with the only goal to further knowledge in others. The equal access to ideas – great and small.
Public libraries are some of my favorite places and we’re lucky to have a great one here in Norway. Beyond its gorgeous columns, the women who work here know my name and my epic borrowing habits.
Growing up my mom would literally fill the back of the car with library books and plow through the whole stack in under a week. I guess I get the gene from her, but all libraries to me feel magical. I mean, they just let you have the book! For three weeks! Or more! Could it get better?
I often worry about the limited access to education in many American communities, but I am always heartened by libraries; these little-engines-that-could of improving public thought. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re funded near enough or used as often as possible, but their presence speaks volumes (ha! unintentional pun!).
Widely regarded as the first intentional public library (although libraries date back in the historical record to around 2000BCE), the Boston Public Library’s founding statement puts it pretty well:
- There’s a close linkage between knowledge and right thinking;
- The future of democracy is contingent on an educated citizenry;
- There’s a strong correlation between the public library movement and public education; and
- Every citizen has the right of free access to community-owned resources.
For me, it is all that and so much more. Moving up here I had eight 18-gallon tubs of books and only three of clothes. I just feel at home surrounded by books. It is as Cicero said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”