Libraries are important. They always have been. They always will be. No matter what innovations beset us, be they printing presses, typewriters, computers, or holograms (maybe?), the idea behind libraries is ideas. And ideas will always save us.
I am a FIRM believer that information and inspiration can change everything. For when we learn about anything and everything we become new people, with new understanding, which allows us to see ourselves, each other, and the natural world with ever-evolving perspectives. And that alone can bring harmony, peace, compromise, and human connection. Because everything changes when we read.
There were noises a few years ago about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world. Let’s hope those days are gone. Words are more important than ever. We navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate, and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas.
The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is pleasurable. One way to destroy a child’s love of reading is to make sure there are no books around. And to give them nowhere to read books. Thankfully we have the LIBRARY!
Libraries are about freedom; freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education, which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school. They are about making safe spaces, and about access to information.
I believe we have an obligation to support libraries; to use libraries, to encourage others to use them. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.
Albert Einstein was asked once how we can make our children intelligent. “If you want your children to be intelligent,” he said, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” He understood the value of reading and of imagining. Let’s give our children, and everyone, a world in which they can read, imagine, and understand.