Daily Archives: August 31, 2011

I am a child of the library

I really am. When I was a kid, we had few books at home, and the library was two blocks away. Before kindergarten, so when I was less than five or six, I had worked out a route by which I would take my wagon to the library, crossing our urban streets away from the dangerous corners, to the library, pick up a pile of books and return the last pile. Then I would read them and bring them back.

After a summer of doing this they ran out of books in the children’s section, which was not very large (this was the small branch library on Delaware by the Post Office, for those of you who know mid 20th Century Albany Geography). So I started using the adult section.

Science books, travelers accounts, and eventually law books. the law books were important because my friend Kirk and I planned to get jobs, when we grew up, as superheros, and we felt that knowledge of the law would be important.

One day they changed librarians and the new librarian would no longer believe my story about taking books out for my brother, and I was no longer allowed to borrow books that were not in the children’s section. That upset me and ever since then I’ve had a hard time trusting or liking librarians. This could be why I have a substantial collection of my own books. But I still used the library all the time. Most of the schools I went to until 7th grade did not have libraries in them.

Then I went to The Milne School, and it had a very impressive library for a high school (in those days) which included first class murals that were, and probably still are, on the National Register.

I am a child of the library because that is where I have learned everything I know else-wise from experience. Yes, it is true and ironic: I’m a teacher who never learned very much in a classroom.

I was distressed to discover several years ago that almost all K-12 libraries in the US are now called “media centers.” This could be one of the reasons that it is so easy for irresponsible legislators, governors, and mayors to allow libraries to fester, shrink, and ultimately close. People grow up not really relating to the word “library.”

Well, that was all introduction to this video that I think you’ll enjoy. I have to admit, when Piers Cawley asked the audience about their recent library use, I assumed he was talking about perl libraries (or other programming libraries). I wonder how many in the audience thought the same thing.

Have a look, and sing along:

Continue reading I am a child of the library