Libraries (& windmills)

I’ve been saying for years now that I think the library is humankind’s most civilized invention. I mean it!

Libraries provide equal access to books (& learning) to any & all who wish to take advantage. Doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, what your skin colour or background is, or what your religious or political views (or utter lack thereof) are.

The books are there for everyone!

I’ve been a huge fan (& regular user) of libraries ever since I was taught to read in Grade 1.

Books to me are like … hmmm. Like breath, almost. Books (& words, & conversation) are life!

Libraries not only provide patrons with a wild array of fascinating reading materials, they also provide a safe (& quiet, although perhaps less so than formerly) haven for anyone who needs one. I know more than one person who firmly believes libraries kept her alive during a very very challenging time as a teen-ager.

Yesterday at Toronto’s Hot Docs festival I saw the Ben Nabors documentary “William and the Windmill” – a fascinating story about a Malawian boy who “builds a windmill from junk and rescues his family from famine.”

William had to leave school in his early teens because his parents (farmers coping with famine) were unable to pay for him to stay. He began visiting the library, where he picked up a book about energy, & the rest, as they say, is history! And a fascinating tale it is, too, of resourcefulness, resilience, generosity, energy, hard work & inspiration.

Libraries (am I repeating myself??) are surely the most civilized achievement of our species.

Long live libraries!!


p.s. I too had some challenges as a kid growing up, & feel libraries & reading pretty much saved my butt. I have the warmest memories of the library in the small town I grew up in. And how I looked forward with excitement to the visits of the Bookmobile that came to our school!

p.p.s. I’ve heard some people complain about this library or that library, or for that matter, this bookstore or that bookstore. My own take is, I’ve never met one I didn’t like. They’re full of books; what else matters??

‘Quote for the day’: “A book should serve as an axe for the frozen sea within us.” – Franz Kafka 

** lots of recommended reading here & here & great quotations under the heading ‘Quotation Central.’