Appreciating the Value of Good Libraries
One of the great things about having kids is that they often provide the needed impetus to do things that you enjoy doing, but that you may not ordinarily do on your own.
High on the list of enjoyable activities that I used to do on a regular basis with my kids when they were growing up was taking them to the library. The trips were great for multiple reasons, first and foremost of which was seeing the genuine excitement in my kids’ faces when they found a good book — or three, or seven, or however many they could talk me into checking out. Not all of the books got read, of course, but many did. And in a week or two, they were ready to go back for more.
As a result, I was a regular library patron for many years, and I loved it. While the kids collected and sat down to peruse their stack of books, I would often find a few of my own. Or maybe a video, or a CD. Or maybe I’d just kick back and relax with the daily newspaper or a favorite magazine. So many great resources, all right there, so easily accessible. And the calm, quiet atmosphere was so relaxing, yet somehow still stimulating.
As my kids became middle schoolers, they stopped wanting to go to the library, so my parental pilgrimages pretty much came to an end, save the few times my assistance was requested to help find sources for a research paper. While my visits became few and far between, every time I did return to the library, I was reminded how much I enjoyed it and missed going. I’d make a mental note to stop in more regularly, but then I’d get busy and it wouldn’t happen.
However, after editing “Top Shelf,” our writer Jay Copp’s guide to the best of what area libraries have to offer (page 38), I am ready to become a regular patron again, this time of my own volition. While I am still an old-school, book-in-the-hands guy, I look forward to checking out the ever-growing range of digital resources that libraries now offer. I truly admire how these once old and staid institutions have evolved to become far more than respositories of the printed word, but rather contemporary hubs of information, education and entertainment. Not surprisingly, libraries have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, with most local facilities now serving more people than ever before.
That’s a good thing, because never have we as a society been in greater need of good, trustworthy sources of information than now. As Michele Weldon points out in her column on page 92, we have become a people who seem to believe opinions are more valid than facts. Not surprising, perhaps, since we no longer seem to be able to even agree on a common set of facts — now there are “alternative facts.”
I suppose it is too much to hope that with the many exciting new information tools at their disposal, libraries might be able to help us become a more informed and open-minded people. But if they can at least help move us in that direction, that would be a very good thing.
As always, we hope you enjoy this issue and thanks for being a reader!Edit Module