“The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.”
– Libba Bray
February marks 2017’s Library Lovers Month. It’s the perfect time to step back from enjoying the current books we’re reading and think about the people who make sure we have access to literature no matter our economic or cultural background. From the Ancient Library of Alexandria (constructed in the 3rd century BC) to today’s public lending system, libraries are foundational parts of our society and a major reason why many of us develop a love for books.
Not convinced that celebrating Library Lovers Month is for you? Here are four compelling reasons to love your local library this month…
1) Libraries Build Community
A library charges no admission and has no time limit (well, aside from its regular business hours). On any given day you can wander into your local library and see people from all walks of life browsing, reading, chatting and even sleeping. Libraries are no-judgment zones offering a safe space to us all, bridging divides and encouraging creative growth in everyone.
2) Libraries Connect Us with Our History
Aside from the obvious fact that libraries hold literature from a range of eras in human history, the design of the library building itself can also connect us with our past. Some libraries are actually relics themselves, such as the nearly 900-year-old Stahov Monastery Library in Prague. Others, such as the Vancouver Central Library and modern Bibliotheca Alexandria, recreate famous ancient landmarks. No matter what, libraries remind us of the creative potential in each of us and make sure we never forget the past.
3) One Word: Librarians
“The most important asset of any library goes home at night – the library staff.”
-Timothy S. Healy
Libraries would be nothing if it weren’t for the passionate people behind the books. Librarians, from Saint Lawrence of Rome in 250 AD to today’s library superhero Jessamyn West, are on the front lines of fighting against censorship. They are here not only to make sure the space stays safe and well organised, but to inspire readers, help with research and promote literacy for all.
4) Libraries Offer Way More Services Than Just Book-Lending
While libraries are known for their collections of books and periodicals, they offer a variety of other community services, as well. They often have quiet reading and writing spaces you can work in, computer zones with internet access, help with job searches, community posting boards, audio and e-book options, book and poetry readings, kids programs and language courses. So if you’re ever feeling stuck in a rut creatively, try checking out what’s on at your local library for inspiration!
How You Can Show Your Library Some Love
When it comes to federal spending, libraries aren’t always at the top of the list. Help promote literacy in your community by donating books, volunteering at a community event or writing to your local government representative about the importance of funding public libraries.
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