Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Incredible Shrinking Library

Hi all,

I’m in crunch time as I write this—a new book due on my editor’s desk in 15 days (egads!). As backed up as I am, it’s been a great month. The truth is, I LOVE being busy with writing.

But I did take a moment out of my week to make time to do something important to me—and that is, go to a town council meeting in defense of my local library. My little library is facing big budget cuts, not only from the state, but from the town as well.

And while I totally understand that everyone is making reductions these days, my town council’s decision to cut almost half a million dollars from the library (on top of state cuts) really set my world spinning—especially because that same town council voted to spend much more than that in the last year revamping the town tennis courts instead.

At the meeting, everyone got up and spoke about why the library was important to them. Some said it’s important because they were jobless, and with no money to pay for the internet, there’s no way to job hunt online without the library.

Others spoke of how important the library is for children—for researching science projects, for teaching discipline, for supporting the love of reading.

My own love for libraries developed early on. In middle school, I walked to my town’s little brick library every day after school. I remember what a thrill it was when I moved from browsing in the YA section to the adult section. I stumbled across some of my favorite authors in those years, began to love poetry, and no doubt the seeds that ultimately made me want to write books were planted there.

When I go to the library now, I feel as if there’s a charge in the air—so much possibility and potential—the whole world literally at my fingertips. The library gives and gives. And I mean to give back.

So tell me – Are you a library supporter? What memories do you have from the library?

One randomly selected commenter will win a copy of my newest release IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT! I'll stop back on Sunday and pick a winner - watch for the announcement in the comments section.


Michelle Styles said...

I am a HUGE library supporter and did work hard to save my local library.
I also belong to one of the few private libraries in the UK.
Libraries are important because they open worlds and allow people to be aspirational. The 19th century is litter with examples of self-made men, men like Andrew Carnegie who were able to overcome the poverty of thier childhood thanks to a library.
Hooray for you for fighting for your library.

traveler said...

Thanks for your inspiring post today. I have always been a library supporter. Ever since I was very young and obtained my library card I have been enthralled and captivated with libraries and their importance. This resource is invaluable and more than ever has to be given the life it requires.

susanwilson44 said...

I think that some people fail to realise how much a sanctuary a library can be to people. Our local library is always filled with a real mix of people, students on the internet, children playing and colouring andhaving games in their section, and a huge range of others in the peaceful section of the main library. I love the quiet in the library and actually think there could be real link to improvements in people's mental health through the use of libraries

Virginia C said...

Hi, Lisa! Great post about a very important subject. I am definitely a library supporter! I live in a very small town, but we do have three community accessible libraries. I have always loved books, and for years I volunteered at our local library. I encourage everyone to visit their local libraries and learn of all the wonderful things they offer in addition to books, books, books! Libraries are a vital resource for every community : )

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Alison said...

In the UK we have the same problems - libraries are seen as 'easy' places to cut, but they're vitally important. I'm not such a fan of internet, DVD etc in libraries personally, but I know they need to branch out (joke!) and offer what people want. I have very fond memories of visiting the library as a child - it was a weekly excursion with my parents after dinner one evening, and )sad little bunny that I am) one of the highlights!

Laney4 said...

I volunteered at my public/high school libraries as a youngster. When my kids were small, I volunteered in their libraries, whether inputting info on their new computer systems or putting books on the shelves. I have returned to my hometown half an hour away and put all of their nonfiction books in order every year, as I know it is difficult for them to do when the nonfiction is located upstairs out of sight of the main desk. I love the Dewey Decimal system!

My earliest memory is when I was about 2 or 3 years of age. My sister, also an avid life-long library supporter, took me to the local library. Back in those days (early sixties), it was located in a small dark dingy downtown "office". There were about a dozen men sitting there smoking their pipes (can you imagine?) around round tables having their coffees (can you imagine that too?). Boy have times changed.

Virginia said...

GReat post Lisa, I have always been a supporter of libraries! When I was going to school I had to do a research paper and I am not sure what I would have done without the library! You would think they could come up with better ways to cut spending, our children need these libraries!


Mary said...

Great blog Lisa, I actually got to the Library at least twice a month and have been doing that for more than 20 years. I read anywhere from 20 to 60 library books per month. It's a great way to find books that you might way to buy for your leeper shelf that you might not have read if they hadn't been at the library.

I've donated books and magazines to the library when I have them.

runner10 said...

I love, love, love my local library. They have a great selection of books. If they don't have the book I am looking for, they will search their database for another library that does.

Caroline said...

Libraries are essential for research. Yes the internet is great but I still need to back up everything I read by checking it out in a book. Good for you in supporting your local library. Caroline x

Lisa Dale said...

@ Michelle, Great points—about people who change their lives in a very real way through the libraries

@traveler, Well said!

@SusanWilson44, I like that you refer to your library as a sanctuary. I didn’t know how to say it in the post, but walking into a library gives me the same feeling of reverence and appreciation that I feel in church. 

@Virginia, Good for your for volunteering! Well done!

@Alison, Branch out (lol!). You’re that libraries are easy targets. The folks in my town who are spearheading the cuts are members who apparently don’t use the library. The mayor—who apparently does us the library—wanted to halve the cuts!

@Laney4, That is so so sweet of you to help at your local library. And great visuals on your earliest library memory.

@Virginia, True—there are better ways to cut!

@Mary, Wow! That’s a tremendous number of books! I bet you could work there!

@runner10, Mine does that too. It spoils me rotten, I have to admit.

@Caroline, I agree. With the advent of the Wikimentality, books are more and more important as primary sources!

Kara said...

I am a huge supporter of our library...I just blogged about our library here in Cincinnati. I am so sorry to hear that they are thinking of making cuts to your library. I don't know what I would do without ours...I take the kids there at least every two weeks...we play computer games, check out books and movies, and go for their special events.

I hope the town council listened to the supporters and take into consideration how important the library is to everyone.

Estella said...

I am a hug supporter of the library.As a senior citizen on a fixed income,the library is very important to me. I have a limited amount of money for books,so have to get my book fix from our library.

Martha Lawson said...

I'm a huge supporter of libraries! I am a librarian (branch) and I run 2 libraries. Alot of people don't realize that in alot of small towns, the library is the biggest thing going on!! My library stays pretty full on most days.

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
host said...

I LOVE libraries!!! My aunt is a librarian and my earliest memories include my days spent in the local library. And since I had connections :) I was allowed to go through restricted area books but my favourite thing about this connection was that I could be the first one to read a new book as soon as it arrived in the library. I can't imagine my life without the libraries.

Lil said...

I am a library supporter. As soon as I could scrawl my own name, my parents took me in to get my own card. The librarian was very supportive and helped me to find books which I might like. When I had children of my own, I took them for their library cards as soon as they qualified and they have found the pleasure of reading and delving into information as they walk through the various areas of the building. I would want this support and experience for everyone.

Laurie said...

My parents always supported our local library. I tok all of my kids to the library. They all 4 volunteered at the library. I love going there to find information, read and attend their activities.
I hope everyone gets out there to support their local libraries. We need them!!

Lisa Dale said...

Thank you all for your comments in support of your local libraries!

I'm getting in a little late here to pick a random winner--my apologies for that! I've had my head in my manuscript a bit!

So, the randomly selected winner is...Martha Lawson! Martha, email me your mailing addresss lisa at lisa dale books dot com.

And as always, you're all welcome to come hang out on my blog, where I'm currently giving away a copy of Julia Amante's Evenings at the Argentine Club!


Lisa Dale