I spent some of the happiest times of my youth in public libraries. I loved books, and I never lost my wonder over the fact that I could go someplace and find hundreds of books to browse through and the even more amazing fact that I could take any of them I wanted home to read.
Above is one I spent many hours in when I was a kid in Washington, D. C., in the Cleveland Park section of the city.
The public libraries were open to all but I felt totally at home in them, as much as I felt at home in my family’s living room. I felt as though they existed just for me. As civic institutions go, it just doesn’t get much better than public libraries.
I went to a prep school with high academic standards but I got half my education, at least, at the excellent school library (above, with the red roofs), checking out and reading whatever I wanted to read.
The Ferguson Public Library, which has stayed open through the troubles there, gives me hope — a center of quiet and peace and reflection and inquiry and knowledge in a town wracked with grief and rage and plain bewilderment. The library has been on the news a lot and it has been deluged with contributions — so many that it may be able to hire a second full-time staff member. It currently has one, plus a lot of volunteers.
I just sent a small contribution myself, and you should, too, here:
It’s not much to do, in the big picture of things, but it’s something, and it’s real.
I don’t know where we’re going to find the keystone to finish the arch above, but I’m sure we’ll find some clues about it down at the library.