“Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find the answers. And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open.” - former First Lady Laura Bush
Some of my earliest memories involve the library. When I was four years old, I remember going to the library often and eagerly. Of the many resources that were offered, one of my favorite things to do was use the children's computer. My favorite games were Mixed Up Mother Goose and a puzzle game based on the Alex Trebek game show Concentration. My dad and I would play the games for our 30-minute time limit, and I would always hope nobody else would be in line so we could get another session....and another. As I got a little older, I became an avid reader, and not just to win prizes like the stuffed gorilla I earned during a summer reading program (and still have to this day). I share all of those specifics (just some of many) to illustrate what an impact the library had on me even under the age of ten.
My younger twin brothers and I were homeschooled, and utilizing library resources was critical in both our education and social development. My mother would walk us to the library where we'd load up our bookbags with tons of great stuff (my favorite book when I was in middle school was a biography on Magellan). We attended many programs (I loved the movie screenings where a real film projector would be used – I still remember watching Born Free that way!), and had the opportunity to make friends and interact with the community in a way we otherwise wouldn't have been able to. This place wasn't just about the books – it was a community center in a town that didn't have an official one. The library was one of our favorite places, and I can't believe how much I can still vividly remember about using the library at such a young age. I didn't stop using them when I was little either – all through high school, college, and now in my adult life I have continued to highly value my library card.
If it wasn't already evident, I really
do love libraries. I love what they stand for. I love who they
serve (everybody). I love that anyone who wants to can easily
surpass whatever tax dollars they have to spend on supporting a new
building by utilizing materials and services the library has to
offer. These facilities that once were known primarily for just
books and shooshing have transformed into meeting places that help
support any passion, need, and recreational pursuit. More
importantly, I love the impact libraries have on children and teens.
I was raised a library user, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
There is still about a month to go
before the vote on the new Shrewsbury Public Library comes up, so I
would encourage everyone – whether you are completely for,
completely against, or on the fence - to seek out those on both sides
of the issue. Don't just jump on either bandwagon, believe
misleading signage, or buy every slogan. Ask questions. Do your own
research. The town is going to do SOMETHING with the current
facility which nobody argues is in really bad shape. Any resolution
is going to be costly to some extent, so I believe any funds spent
should be an investment for future generations of library users. I
want to wake up on November 6th and feel like the town did
the right thing because they educated themselves. Please don't take
this issue lightly. The last library vote differed by just about 150
votes – your vote matters, and it's up to you to make it count.