To paratweet The Bard, these days the spirit of the printed page is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.
I wonder about libraries. Will we still have buildings filled with print?
Or will we seek e-wisdom only in the cloud? Will libraries come to an end, like fins on cars and tubes in TVs?
Not a chance. Libraries today are more about what they do for and with library users as opposed to what they have for patrons. Libraries aren’t just a place of quiet study, they’re creative and engaging community centers where people gather. And the bookmarks are free.
The slap-honest truth about libraries is that we need them. For study. For solitude. For human connection.
The power of my library, and yours, is the conversation it inspires ~ between books and readers, children and parents, us and the collective world. Seems to me that libraries have little to do with clouds and everything to do with connecting.
Library attendance and use is way up. How-to manuals and health magazines, audio books and antique guides, Bibles and biographies ~ my librarians stamp out so many books in a week, their hands blister. (OK, so my nostalgia is showing. That’s one for #TBT. I miss that stamp, don’t you?)
Libraries feed our passion for information and self-improvement. But look what’s happening to them, just when we need them most. They’re easy targets for local budget cuts, duck soup compared to potholes, pipes, and high school marching bands. I’m thinking that it’s because what libraries give us is so intangible. How do you measure the worth of what someone gets from a book?
A book can be life-changing. Google it and see for yourself. When I was teaching, I’d put a book in kids’ hands and be so crazy-excited for them. I hoped that maybe, just maybe, this might be the book that changed their life. Will we ever say this about Netflix?
And sometimes, when talking about a book, I’d see a kind of light come on in their eyes. It didn’t happen every day…or to every kid, but …when it did….
So, next time you’re at the library, borrow a book of recipes. Bake a batch of scones to share. Blow off the cloud and make a connection.