I went to an event today at the Powell County (KY) public library with folks like Monica Smallwood Mynk, Dena Rogers, Chris Chaney, and Rebecca Hicks (who was live via satellite), among many others. Thank you to the library and organizers!
I hadn’t been there in about 20 years, but when I was growing up, it was one of the Important places. I hung out there a lot. I was reminded this week of when I was around 8 years old, and checked out a stack of paperback novels that I thought were action westerns, but actually turned out to be trashy, filthy romance novels about a lady sheriff and the men she, uh, “loved.” I don’t think my mom was too proud of that when she found out what I was reading. (I’m not sure what the librarian thought.)
Of course, I read a lot of other books from that library. Hundreds and hundreds. Certainly, books I never would have had an opportunity to otherwise read, about topics and worlds I might never have known. Today was a good reminder of what libraries can mean to our society, especially in places like Powell County where books and reading and learning just aren’t as accessible as they should be for far too many homes.
When you drive up to the Powell County library, you see that right next door, behind chain-link and razor wire, there’s a big, nice, new county jail. The jail is important, and needed (sadly, needed all too much these days), but libraries are important, too. We need to support them. If we don’t support them, they won’t seem as necessary, and they’ll fall into ruin, and then sooner or later we’ll look up and they’ll be gone.
Don’t let that happen. Support your public and school libraries.
Anyway, here’s a picture of my books in a case at the library in my hometown. I assume they are usually on the actual bookshelf.