Libraries

Let’s Talk About Libraries

A few days ago I asked my Facebook friends to just talk about libraries, plain and simple.  Here are the responses I collected.  I loved them all so I thought I’d share them with you.

Tom B: What’s not to love? I love the smell of acid-free paper in the morning, the implicit promise of the book stacks, the satisfying “kathunk” of the due date stamp, the serendipitous find that you’ve somehow always been looking for but never even knew it. I love the patrons, who are our greatest champions; I love our staff, who are our greatestheroes. I love that we are the purveyors of spiritual goods in this oh-so-material world, that we shepherd knowledge for knowledge’s sake, that we dare to fail on a daily basis so that we may better serve our patrons. I love that our profession is constantly changing, constantly striving to improve and redefine itself. I love my colleagues, both near and far, physical and virtual, and as we charge headlong into uncertain times, I love that I know whatever may happen, my fellow librarians will always have my back. And I have theirs!

Anne K: The dedication to serving others. I went to my public library last weekend to get my new card. I love the fact that the library staff member took time to explain how to access my account online, where certain collections were located – all without me asking. I get worse service from customer service representatives who are working on commission.

Diane C: I considered libraries a place of wonder and joy when I was a child. My attitude has never changed.

I remember the delight I felt after reading “On the Banks of Plum Creek,” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and realizing that it was part of a series, with more stories to come. There really weren’t “Teen Librarians” when I was growing up, and YA collections were pretty skimpy. The librarians at the much larger Troy Public Library let me roam the stacks (and my parents never restricted my reading selections) so my choices of literature ranged from collected volumes of Saturday Evening Post stories to hard-boiled detective stories to more traditional “classics.” My advice to the parents of eager readers: let turn them loose in the library.

Anthony S: Well, sometimes they have these awesome Teen Librarians who just make life SO much better… 🙂

Natashia M: They have BOOKS and movies, and things for teenagers to do like activities and stuff! 🙂

David R: The golf course branch of the South Portland (Maine) library I overheard the following conversation:

Child: Can I play with those dolls on the top shelf?
Librarian (sternly): This is the libary! (pause) Of course you can!

The librarian had one of those New England accents that can make “I love you” sound like “F-you”, at least to my midwestern ears. Thinking about that lady still makes me smile.

Ben K: Hot reference librarians re-shelving books back in the stacks.

John L: I love the fact that it is a local community of learning that is self driven, open ended, and opt in. Our children would have been raised differently, I’d suggest with less options and opportunities, without our local and regional libraries. Don’t even get me started about the quality of the people in my libraries, but that’s the real reason they are so great.

Haley R: They’re just generally nice. I love going into a big place, where I can find a comfy little nook to sit with a good stack of paper and flip through.

It’s the joy of the hunt, as well. Finding that perfect book in the stacks as you look through. The happiness in learning somethinig interesting and new.

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