Books and libraries nourish a society

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 14, 2017

got into a lot of trouble as a kid because of books, burning a lot of pots as I got lost in the action of the next chapter. Rice growers loved me, since I often had to throw out one batch and start a second for dinner. A mad dash to get the first pot cleaned and put away before my parents got home from work often failed to hide the evidence.

The only time I had a detention in school happened because I read ahead in the text book and thought I could sneak a few pages of the biography I was enjoying before my turn came to read aloud. I got so engrossed I lost track of the class reading and started in the wrong place when the teacher called on me.

Perhaps the biggest infractions occurred when I would settle in on the floor in a corner of the branch library and disappear into a book under the guise of deciding whether to check it out. The librarian would lock up the building, then spot my bicycle in the rack and know I was still inside visiting ancient Troy or modern Rome, maybe even future Mars. Many an evening found her standing over me, dragging me back to reality.

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The power to entice, to transport, to educate, to enchant resides in every book to some degree. For too many potential readers, the cost of today’s books puts them out of reach. For those folks, the real world stays around them with no legal means of escape.

Enter a super hero of the highest order! The local library disguises the secret lair of The Librarian, a person who holds the key to the wonders waiting in books. Whether the reader conducts research for school or reads to relax, The Librarian can supply the appropriate book. And books aren’t the only resources found there.

Library patrons can check out movies and music as well as books. Recent magazines line up on racks and newspapers from around the region await readers. Encyclopedias and other research volumes provide deep information on many topics. Computers provide access to the Internet and job search information. Special programs address the interests of children and adults. How can you help?

• Visit the library and apply for a library card if you don’t have one. Use the card on a regular basis.

• Join the Friends of the Library at whichever branch you use.

• Attend the Friends meetings and learn about opportunities to get involved.

• Vote to keep our libraries open by approving budgetary increases for the library when they appear on the ballot.

• Let your elected officials know how you feel.

Get lost in the possibilities at your local library branch. You’ll be glad you did.

By Mary Beth Magee