Friday, September 23, 2016

Some Conservatives Believe We No Longer Need Public Libraries

To my amazement, a family member once argued that we ought to do away with libraries in the digital age. This is one who has few books in the house but as a child was taken to children's reading gatherings by their mother and whose household was full of books on a wide variety of topics.

That same mother, on one of my first tours of her home town, took me proudly to the Free Public Library that was the center of this historic city.  I'll never forget that about her or that city.

 Libraries are more than storage facilities; they are community gathering places.

A place where many people access the internet.

A place for children's reading gatherings.

A place for story tellers, public readings by authors and poetry contests.

A place for public meetings for those engaged in their community. and for writers to share idea and for adult and summer education. 

A place for low income people without money for or Barnes & Noble books, digital or otherwise to go and borrow books for free, perhaps the group that might benefit the most from enhanced education through reading. 

A place for people with noisy or inhospitable household to study and read in quiet and peace.

Many libraries across the country give refuge to the homeless during the day. 

A place for performing and visual arts and so much more. 

 There is now some research that says cognition is still better with reading from hard copy. They are one of the really good things tax dollars support, making small thinking bigger and a place to share ideas face to face.  Or alone, reading and absorbing knowledge. 

This encounter has gnawed on me for a long time and a Facebook share from another family member inspired this defense of free public libraries.