For the Love of the Library

Two books have made their way off their virtual shelves and into my heart:

Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg and The Library Book by Susan Orlean 

Both books capture the essence, character, and importance of public libraries, prompting me to express my love for the library:

For the Love of the Library 

The Library is a place: to gather, visit, meet, explore, discover, learn, laugh, and play. 

The Library is a place: to rest, re-energize, be seen,  be heard, connect,  disconnect,  give voice, and be challenged. 

The Library is a place: of collections, story times, games, art, lectures, and book clubs. 

The Library is a place: to dream, to imagine, to engage, to grow, to be. 
 

Working outside the walls of the library, my fondness and appreciation has grown stronger.

Klinenberg’s work details how social infrastructure affects ones quality of life; places to gather like libraries, community gardens, and schools help give us a sense of well being. The book is interspersed with stories of triumph and tragedy. In a society that is growing increasingly polarized, he sites multiple examples of communities coming together and learning from one another.

Members of the Bayside Neighborhood Community Garden

Where relationships exist, communities survive despite circumstance. I’ve seen evidence of this in my neighborhood. In the community garden, people are spending more time together and relationships, along with plants, are thriving.

Orlean’s re-telling of the 1986 Los Angeles Library fire and the history of libraries in her book sends out a similar message. Cutting across socio-economic, generational, and cultural lines, the library by design is a place for all people.

Beyond the books, brick, and mortar, the library lives on in your story and mine. This is just a long and difficult chapter. I want our library back and I think most would agree: a virtual library just isn’t the same thing. 

These two books intersected my path at just the right time, offering me perspective and gratitude for this recess from the normal and predictable. 

In conclusion, I’d like to share this quote that I have taped to my desk. Take care. We’ll get there! 

Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.  

John Ortberg

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