Chris Laidlaw’s investigation of the state of public libraries and how to love them.
SOURCE: National Radio, Sunday 4 July 11.05am.
Heading to Parklands Library soon to pick up a couple of holds. I’m picking up the latest (10th) Sookie Stackhouse edition. Eeep! <Excited face>
I was sad to read this article in the Lufkin Daily News. I’m not sure what public library policy is in New Zealand for children being able to visit the library alone (let me know if you do). I really hope Abby’s not put off continuing to visit the library - she sounds like a really special kid, someone who probably really needs to have this place in her life.
I know of a couple of people who’s lives would have been extremely different without their local library. Neil Gaiman @neilhimself and Stephen Abram @sabramboth spent more time in their local library than most kids would normally.
Libraries are many things, and to some, it’s a sanctuary. That shouldn’t be forgotten, and in this case, perhaps doing the easy thing, like enforcing a policy (in this case children under 13 years need to be accompanied by an adult), should be reviewed. We don’t all fit in the same box. And we shouldn’t be forced to either. I hope the library can accomodate Abbey and kids like her.
See what Neil has to say about the importance of libraries.
Charles Simic, A Country Without Libraries
I don’t know of anything more disheartening than the sight of a shut down library. No matter how modest its building or its holdings, in many parts of this country a municipal library is often the only place where books in large number on every imaginable subject can be found, where both grownups and children are welcome to sit and read in peace, free of whatever distractions and aggravations await them outside. Like many other Americans of my generation, I owe much of my knowledge to thousands of books I withdrew from public libraries over a lifetime. I remember the sense of awe I felt as a teenager when I realized I could roam among the shelves, take down any book I wanted, examine it at my leisure at one of the library tables, and if it struck my fancy, bring it home.
Photo: Hartland Four Corners, Vermont, 1994. Robert Dawson’s photos of libraries are currently on view in the exhibition Public Library: An American Commons at the San Francisco Public Library.
This is fabulous. I love it.