It’s national hug-a-librarian day. Or it should be. Where would writers be without the support of those dedicated souls who celebrate books and tirelessly place them into the hands of readers? “Have you read this?” “Do you know this author?” “May I suggest checking out this new novelist?”
Last week I had the honor of presenting the keynote address at an annual gathering of librarians and in preparing my remarks, realized that in this age of e-readers, on-line bookselling, and chain store massacres- our beloved hometown librarians are feeling a tad forgotten.
So here is my shout-out to those benevolent guardians of books who work so hard to keep the love affair between readers and writers going strong.
With our pocketbooks stretched and job security a thing of the past, a book purchase can sometimes seem like a luxury item. And although books can be bought for less through on-line book sellers, Ebay and Kindle, there is nothing quite like free.
God bless the public library- the community’s command center of hope and wisdom. The home for every citizen who wants a safe, comfortable and free environment in which to pursue their knowledge, passions, and pleasures.
I was an early fan, understanding that the library was a magical place. A place to meet friends. Hear a story being read. Get lost in a make believe world. Pull out that endlessly long card catalog drawer to find out if my favorite author had written any new books.
To this day I can tell you about the books that I cherished, the ones that influenced me… the ones I renewed so often that I could recite them by memory. Bet you could too.If you think about it, there is no place in the world like a public library.
No other lending service that offers immediate access to tens of thousands of books, new and old, covering hundreds of thousands of subject matter.
That allows patrons to borrow movies and music, even download books!
That offers a safe, nurturing environment where children can read, play, and work on school projects with the help of friendly, knowledgeable staff.
That allows any person of any age, race and religion to sit among the stacks for hours and read for pleasure or a pursuit.
That offers free access to computers and the Internet so that people can explore the latest information on jobs, colleges, travel destinations and medical conditions. Or learn how to write a resume or apply for government assistance. Or register for interesting classes that will broaden their horizons and introduce them to exciting career opportunities. Or sign up for trips to museums, concerts and shows. Or go online from the comfort of their own home to reserve books, chat with a librarian, or sign up for upcoming programs and events…
And just as important, where book lovers can get a chance to hear an author speak! All for free!!!
That is why every day should be national hug-a-librarian day. They are true heroes in my book! And yours!