"So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."
- K. Vonnegut
I have a thing for librarians.
Librarians research for a living. They know how to find information, as well (usually better) than anyone.
Librarians help children (and adults) find books to take them to far away places. These books, these stories, transport. They let us learn new things. They let us see new things. They let us visit new places.
Librarians point us to shelves that hold seams of ore deep in riches and full of possibilities.
I have a thing for librarians.
I was once a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals, IAAP. The IAAP is populated by librarians. They meet and talk about how to categorize, sort, find, use and disseminate information.
Some of them have tattoos. Some of them have thick horn-rimmed glasses. Some of them have piercings. Some of them wear bad pant-suits. Some of them are roller-derby gals. Some of them are ultimate-frisbee guys. Some of them practice yoga. Some of them are foodies. They are all smart. They are all (usually) kind. They are all (usually) helpful.
Not sure what got me on this tangent this morning.
Kim and I offered a few words at my hometown library a few months back. We talked about libraries and why they are so very important. We talked about books we love. We talked about librarians. It was a presentation to a receptive audience, a fundraiser for the library.
My hometown library has been in the same location since I was a kid. It opened to the public in 1954, a full fourteen years prior to my birth. My hometown, Humboldt, TN, began planning for the library in 1923, some 45 years before my birth. It took just over 30 years to finally open the doors. My dad was just over 30 years old when I was born.
I spent hours in that building. Dad's office was three blocks west along Main Street. Grandmother's house was five blocks east along Maple Street. It was a short hike from either to the library. There, in the stacks of books, I climbed mountains. I canoed rivers. I hiked. I dreamed. I learned. I met Douglas McArthur. I spent time with John F. Kennedy. I read Martin Luther King, Jr. I spent hours in that building.
"The size of a town is only limited by the size of the minds of the people in the town."
- C. Williams
My high school pal, Charles Williams, wrote in my yearbook, "The size of a town is only limited by the size of the minds of the people in the town." The Humboldt Public Library expanded my mind. I have a notion it did the same for countless others. My mom and dad still check out books there. It's a place of refuge.
While Kim and I were there last, I took a stroll through the stacks. I found yellowed books about yoga, dating from the early 80's, pink tights and leggings and all. I found the book about McArthur. I found the book about mountains.
Support your local library. If you live in a small town, support your library. If you live in a big city, support your library. Support it with money. Support it with usage. Check out that book about that thing about which you're not supposed to learn. Check out that book that takes you to a far away land. Read. Learn. Play. Support your local library.