I couldn’t let National Library Week end without taking a moment to reflect on what libraries mean to me. As a child, our little town did not have a public library (still doesn’t), and there was no school library, so the bookmobile came to main street every two weeks. I always checked out the maximum number of books, and even though I tried to ration, I was always done at least a week before the bookmobile lumbered back into town. Finally, the bookmobile librarian put me out of my misery and quietly lifted the limit for me and we were both happier. She was my hero. During junior high, I discovered the school media center, and spent every moment there that I could. The librarian liked me and was nice to me. In high school, I almost got expelled for cutting classes until the school librarian vouched for the fact that I was in the media center reading during my missed class! I guess the principal simply didn’t have the heart to expel me for my innocent love affair with books. When my three children were small, I opened a daycare center. Every day we had story time. The first time I saw a child lock onto the book I was reading with fierce attentiveness, I was hooked. That pure channel between the child’s brain and the story was exactly where I wanted to be! Until that electric moment, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Shortly after this in 1993 or so, I logged onto the Internet (no easy feat at that time), surfed on over to a special collection of aboriginal art in Australia (a bucket list destination), and felt the intoxicating power of remote digital collections too. So, when I started college at age 35, I knew very clearly that I was on a path to be a librarian, and have never looked back. Graduate school in Chicago gave me ample opportunity to visit and use some of the finest research libraries in the world. The deal was sealed; I was completely smitten.
I honor and commend all types of librarians during National Library Week. You make important contributions to people’s lives, some who have little, others who are more fortunate. You help build an informed citizenry, but I am preaching to the choir here! Well done library friends; you rock!
CMLE Executive Director
Image credit: Photo by Patricia Post