Saturday, March 29, 2008

Public Library -- Public Education

"I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to charge through that door and make the most of it. Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself." — Isaac Asimov


Bookgirl said...

We didn't buy books growing up, but the librarians at our local public library knew every one of my sisters by name. We were allowed to take out 10 books at a time, and my sister Celeste was scolded once for returning them all the same day she took them out. She explained very politely that she it wasn't the same day. She had taken them out the day before and was already finished with them.

I learned how to write my name with the bribe that once I could, I was big enough to get my very own library card. The librarian was kind enough that she let a scrawled Chris count as a signature (I hadn't yet mastered the whole Christine or my very long last name). I still have that card somewhere. When they upgraded to a computer system from the old Rolodex, they let me keep it.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

It sounds like you had a whole family of readers there! When I was growing up only two out of eight of us siblings were readers.

Your sister and I must have been kindred spirits -- in junior high I used to slip into the library before the first bell and check out two books (the maximum allowed). The next morning I'd be back, having read them, to check out two more.