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Save the Libraries! Starting With This One.
Where would you be without your library? I had occasion this week to visit the library I grew up visiting, and passing by a particular shelf in the children's section I happened to glimpse the exact set of ancient hardbound Oz books that I devoured as a kid. I had a kind of sensory flashback: the scent of the yellowed paper, the art deco-weirdness of the illustrations. Even the slightly reverential act of kneeling -- they were on the bottom shelf. The excitement of being done with one and moving on to the next (even then, at 9 or 10, I knew there was something great about being able to say, "Oh, The Wizard of Oz? Sure, that one's good, but do you mean to say you haven't read Rinkitink in Oz?"). I discovered so many books at that library, and thus so many (fictional) friends, and it was because I loved reading that I wanted to become a writer.
What about you? Where would you be without your library? This is the question posed by the tiny M.N. Spear Library of Shutesbury, MA as they try to raise money for a new building. Their 900-square-foot library is a center of community life, but lacks space for studying, story times, and is hopelessly outdated -- they don't even have running water. Here is the charming video filmmaker Lindsay Van Dyke made, with the help of local library patrons, which states the case for why this small town needs a new library:
It happens to be, right now, an uncanny nexus of National Library Week AND National School Library Month. I know, I know, we all read books on kindles and write novels via text and memoirs on Twitter, but still, as the video above demonstrates, there is nothing quite like a brick-and-mortar library. Nothing like finding a book by accident, or being drawn to a crackly spine for an unknown reason; nothing like losing oneself in a quiet corner studying or reading. My current library life is, in fact, nothing like this at all, but one of rowdy story times and chewed-up board books -- important, too, in its way. What about you? Where would you be without your library? Post to M.N. Spear Library's Tumblr or in the comments below!
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