Traveling and working around our great state, I’m pleased to report that there are some great public facilities – namely public libraries.
While I didn’t use our local ones very much while living in Pleasanton, I have used several this past year when our WiFi was spotty.
It warms my heart to see young parents come through the doors with their children in tow. They ask how many books they can get and are so excited to leave with “their” new books.
I also love it when an elderly person comes in and asks how they would get on the internet. The patience these librarians and staff have is quite admirable.
My mother was an avid reader…I mean she read a book a day. I’m lucky if I get to read a few pages a day before I fall asleep! She would check out seven books each week, even though the limit at that time was five. Once, a new employee was explaining why she could only check out five and the librarian at the time, Diana Guthrie, explained to the new hire that it was quite alright, that “Mrs. Brown will read them all and bring them back next week.” She would re-read books like I would re-watch movies. I think I’ve only read a few books twice. One was “To Kill a Mockingbird” and another was “The Catcher in the Rye.” I recently re-read “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. If you’ve not read it, please get a copy and read. Grab a box of tissues first… you are going to need them. Pausch, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, wrote his memoir as he was dying from pancreatic cancer. A very poignant and sobering story.
Today’s libraries aren’t the stuffy, super quiet places that I knew growing up. They are information resources for happenings around the town and they also have movies that can be checked out. Currently, I’m sitting in the Huntsville library and listening to a political debates of sorts. There are three ladies – a bit older than me – discussing the current political happenings. They are doing so in hushed tones, but loud enough that I can hear them. Thankfully, I’ve not had to hear a phone ring or a onesided conversation today. And thankfully, what they are saying isn’t repulsive.
My old roommate, Anne Lukin, received her degree from The University of Texas at Austin in Library Science. I’m pretty sure she never was employed as a librarian, but her heart, nature and love for the written word inspires me. I saw this on her Facebook page the other day. Here it is: “Last year in a library in Alaska I read a folk tale in a random book on a random shelf and have been thinking about it since and today I wrote the librarian with no book title or author and in 2 hours I had a scan of the story and cover in my inbox – librarians should be running everything.”
The way I see it, I think I want to come back as a librarian in another life! They really do know what is going on, can pretty much answer and find what you are looking for and best of all, most of the services are free.
SUE BROWN is a columnist of the Pleasanton Express. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.