Monday, January 17, 2011

Stony Stratford Strikes Back!

In between sentences in my current work-in-progress, I've been wondering what to blog about today. Yeah, I've been working on my list of 100 Books I Want to Read, but I don't plan to subject you to 100 uninterrupted days of me thinking about my massive TBR stack. I swear!

I was having a little trouble coming up with a topic that knocked my socks off ... until I saw this article scroll past.

First, major kudos to the folks in Stony Stratford for caring enough about the library to do this. It's amazing. At first, when I saw the image of the completely empty library, my heart sank. I thought the shelves were empty because the library was closing. But as I read on and realized that the library was completely empty because people in that village checked out all 16,000 books in the library to protest the possible closure, I experienced a huge feel-good moment.

I love the library, and have since I was a little girl when my mother took me there. I still remember the thrill of climbing the metal stairs into the Bookmobile when it came to my school and the joy of walking up and down the stacks, looking for books I wanted to read. The library meant that no matter how much money we had or didn't have, I could always get a book. The library meant that I could read thousands of books if I wanted to, and the only thing standing in my way was how fast or slow I read the books I had.

Librarians knew and understood the books. If I liked this, they could recommend that. If I couldn't figure out the Dewey Decimal System, they showed me where to find the book I wanted. As I grew older and my book needs changed, I discovered that the library meant even more than just good books to read. It means research materials, access to old newspaper archives and past issues of magazines. And if I needed a book that I couldn't find on the shelves, all I had to do was request the book and my library would get it from another library.

Sadly, that service is no longer available to me due to budget cuts. I'm not pointing fingers here or trying to place blame. There's entirely too much of that in our society already, and my thoughts today aren't about who's responsible and who's not. I just wish that more people valued books. I wish more people would realize how amazing the library is. I wish we'd put our money where our mouths are. When we claim that education of our children is important, let's not take away their ability to find a book to read, even if their parents don't have money or their parents don't especially like to read. (That's another thing that makes me sad, but it's a topic for another day.)

Everyone I know is struggling in this economy. There's not as much money for entertainment and travel. Food budgets are being slashed and people are downsizing. But at the library, you can always get a book to read. Even in my small community, where services are being cut, I can still access any book in the county-wide system, and they still provide monthly e-mails about the new books they've put on the shelves every month.  And that's a good thing.

Have any great library memories or just thoughts about their status in the current economy?  I'd love to hear what you think.

from the blog On My Mind Today

1 comment:

percy said...

You have posted a very interesting article. Keep it up!

Good Books To Read.