February 11, 2011

What Does the Public Library Mean to You?

I was so moved by this man crying over the closing of his neighborhood library.

Growing up in a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia, the library was a safe haven for me as a child. I don't want to imagine what my childhood would have been like without my neighborhood library. It is the reason I am where I am right now. It provided everything I needed for FREE, which was all we could afford back then.

It breaks my heart to hear about library closings in Philadelphia and many other places. And it's happening in the poorest areas, where they can least afford to lose such a valuable resource.

What does your neighborhood library mean to you? What did it mean to you as a child?


Stephanie J. Blake said...

I can't imagine living in a community without a library, as visit our library at least twice a week.

We didn't buy many books when I was young and I was a voracious reader. Those weekly library trips were my only chance to read books. Also, I always participated in the summer reading programs and still do. So do my kids!

Going to the library is more fun than shopping! Course I really hate shopping...Going to the library is better than chocolate!

Wild About Words said...

Well said! (I hate shopping, too.) And I forgot that growing up we had about half a dozen books at home, two of which were cookbooks. Without the library, I'd never have had books to read.
The library is definitely better than chocolate!

Stephanie J. Blake said...

My kids get to buy books most of the time,(I have a hard time saying no), but we still check out 30-40 items every time we visit!

Anonymous said...

I had a bit of a longer ride by bike than you (a few blocks anyway). The library was the only place I could go to get books. Beyond not having the money, the book store didn't have the books I wanted. I could grab a few books just based on my membership card and be off. That meant riding home with one hand though, figures my books always had to be heavy ones too (my book selection had lots of pictures in them).

Wild About Words said...

Yes, I can picture that. Those photography books are hefty, I guess.
Thank goodness for the Northeast Regional Library, right?

Karin said...

As a child I struggled with reading, so I never liked the library. It would take me a great deal of time to read a book and so my father simply bought them for me.
When I caught up to my classmates at a proper reading level I started to go to the library. Then I stopped reading all together.
A few years after I married I got back into reading, finding it a first time joy, because I never actually liked it before.
This is when I really started enjoying and appreciating the library. When I worked as a nanny I took the kids and got them books and movies, which is so nice because it provides new books to read.
Over the last few years I have really wanted to support my fellow writers and authors and purchase their books, but financially it is not possible at the time, so I rely on the library now more than ever.
The library allows me to "try-out" new authors, old favorites, movies, and magazines!! Plus it provides a free place for critique groups for writers to meet and for my volunteer group to be able to meet and discuss our joys and struggles.

Linda Fausnet said...

I still get that little "thrill" feeling in my stomach when I go to the library. I was an off and on reader as a kid but now that I'm a Wannabe writer I can't get enough of books - both fiction and nonfiction. Thank God for the library because there's no way I can afford to buy books. It's also so exciting to take my kids to the library now.
Also, I use Foursquare on my phone where you "check in" when you go places. When you check in to places more than anyone else, you become the "mayor". I'm so proud to be the Mayor of Carroll County Public Library :)

Wild About Words said...

Karin, that's great that you want to support authors, but the library buys those books so you ARE supporting authors . . . and reading lots of great books. Our critique group meets at the library, too!
Linda, I know that little "thrill" feeling. And why not? Free books, dude! I think it's way cool that you're the mayor of your local library. How fun is FourSquare!