More than ever, author John Scalzi is a personal hero to me. Not only because he’s one of my favorite authors, not only because he’s smart, hilarious, and—by all accounts—a kind man, but because he expresses the value of libraries better than I could ever hope to:
A Personal History of Libraries (posted on his blog, Whatever, on February 23, 2013; accessed via Library Journal on November 27, 2013)
Honestly, between Mr. Scalzi and Neil Gaiman, I’m just going to sit back and point people to them when I feel compelled to try and express the value of libraries.
Whenever people like Terry Deary or MG Siegler proclaim the end of the library and insist that libraries no longer serve a useful function in our communities simply because they themselves no longer use them, we should all respond with this quote from Mr. Scalzi:
I don’t use my local library like I used libraries when I was younger. But I want my local library, in no small part because I recognize that I am fortunate not to need my local library—but others do, and my connection with humanity extends beyond the front door of my house. My life was indisputably improved because those before me decided to put those libraries there. It would be stupid and selfish and shortsighted of me to declare, after having wrung all I could from them, that they serve no further purpose, or that the times have changed so much that they are obsolete. My library is used every single day that it is open, by the people who live here, children to senior citizens. They use the building, they use the Internet, they use the books. This is, as it happens, the exact opposite of what ‘obsolete’ means. I am glad my library is here and I am glad to support it.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m grateful for all the libraries in my life and in all the communities in which I’ve found myself, whether I personally used those libraries or not. I’m grateful for vocal supporters of libraries, like Mr. Scalzi and Mr. Gaiman, and everyone in my community who makes the library an essential part of their lives.
More than anything, I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my community and make my living as a librarian. My connection with humanity extends beyond the front door of my house and I’m happy to dedicate my life to this fact.