Thursday, February 24, 2011

i'm a big fan of my local library

It's militant
Not military
See we welcome everybody
We're not even scary
I'm a big fan
Of the local library
I just read a book
But that's another story

--British Sea Power, "Who's in Control"

I love it when a favorite band addresses a favorite topic. Another line I love from this song: "Sometimes/I wish/Protesting was sexy on a Saturday night." Yeah, baby! Can't wait to see them live in Chicago next month.

BSP are no doubt talking about the proposed library cutbacks in Great Britain. There have been protests and sit-ins in the UK. Will we see the same here in the US? I don't doubt we'll see cuts proposed; whether people will care enough to protest them is another matter. As the daughter of a librarian, who spent a good chunk of my childhood in the library, and who still uses it for 95% of my reading material, libraries are dear to my heart.

But forget my nostalgia and warm feelings: for many, the local public library is their only access to books, magazines, the internet--that most precious commodity of all, information. Most public library systems provide a wide variety of free programs to the public, everything from children's storytimes to computer classes and resume workshops. Even--and here's a sign of the times--foreclosure seminars. All for free.

I could go on, but I won't. Instead I'll share a few shots of a wonderful vintage book I recently checked out from my local library system. (You'll see the book actually comes from Muskegon's Hackley Public Library, which is not part of the Kent County system. But because Kent District Library is part of the Lakeland Library Cooperative, I was still able to request it and pick it up at my local branch. How cool is that?)

And here's British Sea Power performing "Who's in Control"--so fantastic! Check it out.



  1. Karen, I love this post! I didn't know you were the daughter of a librarian! The library is where my son and I spend a BULK of our time in the evenings. You better believe I'll be one of the first in that protest line if they think about taking away my local house of books! I hope that NEVER happens.

  2. Great post!
    As I a public librarian, I can add that cuts in other areas, not just directly to the public libraries, are hurting us. I for one wrote many grants to my local arts council for Free and Open To The Public art exhibits, lectures, seminars, and art lessons. Even the supplies were provided to patrons. If the council's funds were cut, no more grants for free programs at the library.

    I could go on and on, too, but I'll leave you with this:

  3. i'm still trying to get the concept of a library across to my son. his room is overflowing with books. i'm excited that he likes books, but i really need to get the kid a library card!!!

  4. Lovely post, libraries are so nice, I must visit mine more often! And that old book is beautiful!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

  5. I am the daughter of a librarian, too! and our library system here totally rocks - can't imagine spending $$$ on mass market paperbacks just to have them turn into clutter (though we do buy lots of hardcover art and music books). we have some serious library love.

  6. I can think of few places I love more than my local library. From a social justice standpoint, it would sadden me to think this is a service that those in power would see as expendable. I agree that for some it is their only source of free information and computer access. It's also a relatively safe place for children with parents who work. Caring librarians made a huge difference in my life and helped me pick out books (which my parents could not afford to buy me in the numbers I was reading them) that fueled my imagination and contributed in all ways to my interests and passions today.

  7. As a librarian myself, I approve this message. :-D

  8. future librarian here (currently in school). there have already been terrible cuts at the los angeles public library system where I live. boo! hiss! but, maybe if we can get Measure L passed next month we can restore 6 day a week service! thanks for the thoughtful post.

  9. I am also the daughter of a librarian! (The library is even named in my late mother's honor - how fab is that?)

    I feel as though I have spent my life in libraries - I love their smells and the hushed swishy sounds.

    These days we can even get online and search for books and the library sends us a text message to let us know when it's available - and all for FREE! What a wonderful service. And a great way to feel part of a community too. I love the library and I am so glad I'm not the only one.

    Sarah xxx

  10. Beautifully put. Our free public libraries guarantee all people access to books. Some things are just worth preserving.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin