My first job as a college student was at the local library. I spent my evenings shelving books. I found it very peaceful and learned about an endless list of books I wanted to read as I scanned the titles before returning them to their proper place. But it wasn’t just about checking out books. My local library was a community hub, where anyone could come at no cost, spend hours learning and meet other people. I was reminded why I value our public libraries and my time working there when I read this article in the Pacific Standard:
But what is indisputable is that this “amazing decentralized mutual aid” creation, as one librarian described it, was founded on a radical belief that all citizens have a right to information, art, and literature. That these things are not a luxury, but a necessity, is an idea that turned the old elite concept of private libraries and ivory towers on its head.
And more and more people are using them,
Ironically, the best-kept secret about America’s libraries is that they are wildly, deeply, and incontrovertibly popular. They are as actively used as ever, if not more.
However, as more and more citizens use our beloved public libraries, funding to keep their doors open continues to be cut. The value of this public system has been proven a million times over and this article calls all citizens to action, to be there for our public libraries:
Again and again, libraries have been there for us—to the point of becoming almost an invisible part of the civic fabric. Whether through their wealth of books and media or through their fierce agitation against censorship of all kinds (including the well-known Banned Books Week), libraries have stood up for our right to accessible knowledge, art, and literature. In turn, there has never been a better time to vote for a library millage, to volunteer for a “Friends” group, or to attend the regular library board meetings that are open to the public. It’s our moment to stand up for our libraries: to count them as essential to civic life, and to make sure that those making funding decisions in our community know it.