When I was growing up, I found refuge in a library. Home was often chaos, and a walk or a bus ride to a library saved me. I escaped to the library building and within the covers of each book I checked out.
I discovered all sorts of books by accident as I wandered the aisles of shelves. I could pull down and examine any number of books at my leisure and take them home for free. Good deal since I had more curiosity than money.
I discovered different cultures. At home, the only place I found culture was on a carton of buttermilk.
One time, I found “The Source” by James Michener and I thought I found the most profound book ever written. Later on, when I found “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov, I began to scratch the surface of a world of truly great books out there.
The library arranged books in nice, organized rows on identical shelves. Unlike home where stuff was strewn all over and never put away.
I loved the quiet in a library. Home had loud, senseless drama.
An e-reader has no shelves to wander around. It has no walls, no chairs, no tables. It has no spines to glance at as I meander. It has no old or new paper smell, nor atmosphere. It is no place.
Even if e-readers existed back when I was young, I would not have been able to afford one. I wish people would wake up to the power of knowledge that a free library offers to even the poorest person. It’s not boring, it’s freeing.
So many people question the value of a library building today. There is no question in my mind that value exists within those walls. I still go and find gems. I don’t always know what I’m looking for. Sometimes it finds me instead.
The pleasure, knowledge, and peace I have found inside a library will keep me one of its biggest fans. My kind is rare today, I hope I don’t become the last card-carrying member.