The Importance Of Libraries and Reflections From A Small Town

I recently came across an article from the Hartford Courant that highlighted the importance of libraries and I wanted to start out by recommending it to you before going on.  If you don’t even continue on, please check out the 8 perspectives by a variety of folks on why they believe the library is important. Reasons range from the way they support the community, the people that make up the library, the resources and aid they offer, and even the nostalgia they draw from those of us that were able to have a library easily accessible.

It’s that area of nostalgia I would like to focus on as some people may be devoid of this emotion when it comes to libraries for one reason or another.  While that’s fine, some people may not have had access or grew up in a home that just didn’t visit the library but I was lucky enough to be exposed to the library both at school and from home.

In my small western North Carolina town (you’ve probably never heard of it) we had a quaint little library that was run by devoted staff and it was a place where people, no matter their “status”, would come for numerous reasons.  

I remember going there to read a book or check out something a friend or family member had recommended.  There was the time my mom dropped me off there to read for a few hours (I was behind on an Elementary School reading assignment) and it was all perfectly serene.  I love the smell of the old books, the crackle of those plastic book covers, and we had some pretty cool bean bag chairs too.

In school, we had to…had to…go to the library a few times per week and it was there that I found so many cool little stories and adventures that took me well beyond the Appalachian Mountains.  It was a great time where we could just sit and read or we had storytellers sometimes or we had folks that would come in and tell us about Cherokee heritage and folklore, and there were rare times where, even someone and wiley as me, got a “Reader of the Day” sticker, which was a bookworm coming out of a big red apple, with a joyous smile on his face.

Sure, nostalgia might not be the best argument for the benefits of a library but I think that those trips to the local Book Saloon helped spark my imagination, taught me about a variety of subjects, and instilled the importance of taking time to spend a quiet moment with a book as frequently as possible.