I can’t let September slip away without saying thank you to libraries. Without libraries, I wouldn’t be much of a reader. Although my sisters taught me to read by age 4, almost all of my childhood books were library books, and 80% of my reading material still comes from my public library. From the time I was 6 until I was about 12, I rode my bike at least a couple times a week to the Winter Park Public Library. Here’s what it looked like in those days:
They moved to a new, bigger, more modern building just a couple of years before my family moved to a new neighborhood. I never got over missing the old building. (Even though I love and applaud bigger, newer, more modern libraries!)
The school library was always a safe place for me, from elementary school through high school. A place where I fit in, where I belonged. Where I felt safe and welcomed. I am so grateful for school librarians!
I supported myself in college with many jobs, one of which was working in the serials department of the University of Central Florida library. Myrtle, on my bosses, was one of the kindest, smartest ladies I’ve known.
When I’m researching a new book, where do I turn? The library.
When my power was out for a day last week, where did I go to work? The library.
When I want to feel connected to ideas, and the world, and other people, where do I go? The library.
When I want to feel DISconnected from the world and its troubles, to lose myself in a romping good story, where do I go? Yes. The library.
It breaks my heart to visit schools that have no full-time librarian or media specialist. That are staffed only by volunteers. That are open only a couple of hours per day.
I would not be the person I am without my library–all my libraries throughout the years. Our libraries are one of the most important resources our communities have. They welcome us all and then send us home smarter, better people.
Thank you, libraries, library advocates, librarians, volunteers, Friends of the Libraries, and everyone who plays a role in making libraries great–and accessible for kids.
Is there a kid in your life who doesn’t yet have a library card? This is the month to fix that. Happy reading!