Palaces for the People – 99% Invisible
If you love libraries and haven’t checked out this podcast yet, you need to do so. Personally, I believe libraries are more important than ever.
I’m not quite sure when I first fell in love with libraries, but it did happen at an early age. In kindergarten and first grade, I remember Mrs. Mosley, the Sterling Elementary librarian with a wonderful British accent and the personality of everyone’s favorite grandmother, reading books such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day aloud. What’s not to like?
As I grew older, I devoured mysteries, especially the Nancy Drew series. In second and third grade, I scoured the shelves for ghost stories and the latest Choose Your Own Adventure book. Time spent browsing the library shelves are among my favorite memories of my years at Sterling Elementary.
My love of libraries and reading grew as I grew. In junior high and high school, I started my day off in the library readying myself for the day or reading. Later in high school, that same school library served as workplace as I tutored younger students after school. Now as a teacher, I still believe that school libraries are a crucial part of the fabric of any school.
Of course, the same is true – or maybe even more true – of community libraries. Whenever I need a quiet place to work without the distraction of everything I need to do at home, I head to the library. College libraries such as the library at Delta College or Saginaw Valley State University are among my favorites. Smaller community libraries have so much to offer. For example, Mid-Michigan Writers, Inc. meets in the community room of the West Branch Public Library. Huron Shores Genealogical Society (HSGS) has its own room at the Robert J. Parks Library in Oscoda. In fact, HSGS hosts their fall and spring programs at the library too. Where else could such groups meet publicly?
In rural communities, libraries, and to a certain extent schools, are often the only places where people can come together freely. Personally, I love reading and writing in independent coffee shops and cafes, but I always order something. Even book stores eventually expect you to purchase something. Businesses count on it. Libraries are one place where everyone is welcome and there is space to just be.
There is a great case to be made that libraries are an important part of our social infrastructure. The idea didn’t even cross my mind until I discovered this podcast. You can listen here.
Not long ago, many felt that libraries were becoming obsolete. I understand the thinking behind that statement; however, just a simple glimpse beneath the surface would prove the exact opposite. Libraries are needed now more than ever.