Once upon a time, a little girl went to the library. The furnishings didn't enthrall her, but the books did, particularly one book that was orange and green and had a picture of dog driving a car. She gave it to her mother to check out for her. Over and over and over again. The girl read that book almost exclusively. Silently she would turn the pages, each illustration delighting her. She loved the drawings of dogs of all sizes. She delighted in dogs driving cars. She loved the whimsical drawing of all the dogs spread out on a bed. She wondered when he was going to love her hat. She loved the dogs who were playing tennis on top of a blimp. Most of all she loved the dog party Seemed to her that every time she looked at the dogs on top of the tree, she noticed more dogs doing more things.
A few years later, the girl's mother took her to the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Cultural_Center" main branch of the Chicago Public Library, and she was in awe at the ornate ceilings and stacks and stacks of books as far as her eye could see. Prior to a car trip, she took out a book about the Incas, a book by Beverly Cleary, a vocabulary book and a book titled Ginger Pye, about a family dog that had been stolen When she discovered that they were closing the main branch down, she got very mad. She couldn't understand why they had to take away that beautiful building that she loved so much.
The girl grew into a lonely teen, who was perplexed by so called friends. She wandered into her high school library to stop feeling so alone. She was surprised to discover some really great books. One was a biography about Rabbi Elijah Levinson, who supposedly was one of the girl's ancestors. The other book was Fred Allen's autobiography, Much Ado About Me. They kept her company the entire summer.
A friend's repayment of a very small loan gave the unemployed young woman just the amount of money she needed to join the Library Guild at Spertus. where she could complete some research of Jews of Fustat (Old Cairo) at the time of the First Crusade. Perhaps she will never complete the historical novel she began, but having that knowledge still fills her with joy and a sense of accomplishment.
Many years later, as a matronly middle aged married woman and mother, she read something about libraries from one of the famous writers of the day, http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/04/ray-bradbury-comic-con-interview">Ray Bradbury
that set her back on her heels:
When I left high school, I had all my plans to go to college, but I had no money. And I decided then, the best thing for me to do is not worry about getting money to go to college — I will educate myself. I walked down the street, I walked into a library, I would go to the library three days a week for ten years and I would educate myself. It’s all FREE, that’s the great thing about libraries! Most of you can afford to go to college, but if you wanna educate yourself completely, go to the library and educate yourself. When I was 28 years old, I graduated from Library.
Wouldn't it be great, she thought to herself, if everyone had access to a library, at any time of day or night, so they could study whatever they wanted to study or just have a place of quiet sanctuary like she once had? Her face fell because she reminded herself that municipalities were closing libraries as "http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming">Neil Gaiman so eloquently stated:
Libraries really are the gates to the future. So it is unfortunate that, round the world, we observe local authorities seizing the opportunity to close libraries as an easy way to save money, without realising that they are stealing from the future to pay for today. They are closing the gates that should be open.
The woman thought back to the times when she visited the huntington.org">Huntington Library
and newberry.org"> the Newberry Library and how she felt connected to generations past. How her hands hungered to touch the manuscripts. She felt sacred moments of connection as she gazed upon the parchment touched by those who had penned their great classics. She contemplated how, with books as her companions, she had traversed many literary landscapes.To her libraries were hallowed ground. Her feelings echoed those of Gaiman:
Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.
The woman thought about how many tales would be lost if they were not somehow preserved. She thought about how so many stories were neglected and forgotten. Perhaps some day she would reconstruct her family's history, and, even if it were not exact, it would be recorded, nonetheless. At least she could take solace in what stories had been preserved in books resting along the stacks of http://www.buzzfeed.com/wordsbydan/28-quotes-about-libraries-on-photos-of-beautiful-l-b6bd">
many of the world's libraries.
All of a sudden the woman felt a soft, warm glow of hope. She realized that many others would come to libraries to daydream and be inspired to create whatever came to mind. She knew right that libraries would live happily ever after. The End.