It'd never work, sure, but what if it already has?
Libraries are so important to me. As a recluse, sad immigrant who barely spoke English in sixth grade, my school library was my safe space where I could learn english at my own pace (i would pick up easy books, write down words I didnt understand, and look them up later). In college, since I was a commuter, i had some loooong stretches of time waiting between work and classes sometimes (i also worked on campus). I would hole with my ipod mini (lol) on the fifth floor that had absolutely NO SIGNAL and be there for hrs. i had my favorite spot, which gave me prime views of my campus.
As an adult, a library helped me get a job. I had just moved up to the bay area and we had no internet at home, but I landed an interview. I called our local library frantically asking them to please help me because i was not about to rely on a hotspot for an interview! my local library is tiny, so they lent me their meeting room and made sure no one would interrupt me for the whole hour.
As a librarian I salute this. Libraries (especially public ones) are AMAZING and it's particularly AMAZING that they still exist!
I grew up in Pittsburgh, the home of the first free Carnegie libraries, and every Saturday my mother took me to one of the large branches to fill up my arms with books. Which I did read because my only indenity until I was about 12, was bookworm, and then it became bookworm who was going to be a writer. I also loved spending evenings at my college library, flirting because for the first time I was at an institution who was filled with other bookworms and therefore for the first time found people interested in flirting with me. Then 4 years into my marriage to one of those young men at my college who was wiling to flirt with me, he was sadly trying to figure out what to do with his life--since a double major in English and film didn't have much of a career path he was interested in following. That's when I pointed out that 1) he had carefully organized all our 100s of books and records by subject and alphabet, and that2) he had just come home from university library (where I was getting a doctorate) telling me he had found an entire reference book of battleships. Now what was amazing was not the subject because he had absolutely no interest in battleships, but what was amazing to him was simply the vast amount of reference books about literally anything. I said, Why don't you go to library school and become a librarian? And he did, eventually working for that very same university library. Fast forward 50 years later, we are still married, I am a writer and he is a retired librarian writing a text book for librarians about the preservation of government documents. And that is my story about how important libraries are to me. Ta da!
I went to the library as a kid because I loved to sit in the colourful chairs they had. That’s it. :)
Great stuff Alex! I love libraries, but I think the pandemic sorta erased them from my life. Your post brought them back. Thank you!
As I kid, I loved hanging out in my school library and going to the Sherman Oaks branch of the LA public library. In high school, I’d spend my free periods in the library, where I slowly worked my way through the 900s (history) in the Dewey decimal system. I was a big nerd. In college, I actually got a job at my school’s science library. I mostly shelved journals and checked out study materials, but the job gave me tons of time to read and think, and I loved every minute of it. As an adult, I’ve done a lot work in libraries, mostly because they’re better places to write than coffee shops, although I love coffee shops too. But shortly after we moved to Chatsworth, I lost touch with my studio city branch, and then the pandemic hit, and I sorta lost touch with physical libraries, although I do borrow a lot of audiobooks from LAPL. Anyway, THANK YOU for this lovely reminder to go visit my local library. Next time I get the urge to write in a coffee shop, I’m heading for the chatsworth LAPL branch instead.
Great post, Alex! And it looks terrific - not just your fabulous art, but I love your 'both are true' script at the top.
How lovely that your earliest memories are of the library. I loved the library when I was a child. It's been ages since I've been - not since a while before the pandemic hit. I need to get back in there, right? Especially because - YES - like you, I could WRITE in the library!!! That had never occurred to me - what kind of a rock have I even been hiding under?!?!? 😲 Am about to look up their opening times so I can set up camp in there to get some work done without my everyday distractions!
I was surprised when I moved to Germany that you had to pay a fee to take a book out of the library - I would just sit and read while my au pair kids chose books to take home - children's books cost 50pf each (we're talking pre-Euro, here, so pfennig). And they FINED children for bringing books back late! Our library at home never did - adults, yes, but they never fined children. I found that interesting.
Sasha this is incredible. Libraries are exactly like that! I went to my local library on Sunday to explain about a book I can't return & will pay for. About ten minutes later I left with 2 magazines, 4 novels and 2 nonfiction books, all free. I didn't end up explaining about the book I can't return because I thought that might be too much for the weekend librarian. It's not due until tomorrow so I'm going back then and pay them whatever a bloody (literally, I bled on several pages due to reading while eating a tinned food whose sharp lid cut my thumb) book costs to replace.
Omg Alex are you sure you’re not just me but Ukrainian and a dude? You always manage to capture both my childhood and my present.
Nojy is going to be 3 soon and he’s been going to the library for several months now. He’s getting so good at socializing with other kids, which… as a pandemic baby, I was a little worried. But he loves it and even recognizes it when we drive past and asks to go. And he calls it a yabudy. Which, you know. 😍🤩
I used to love libraries but I never think about going to one to work now - I just may have to try it. I love that you read to your son and get him excited about NEXT! There is no greater joy than reading to a child and rest assured if you and your wife continue he will love to read on his own.
We are SUCH library people. My parents used to drop me off while they did the grocery shopping. I had a dedicated shelf for my library books at my house growing up. I have raised my kids taking them to the library almost every weekend, even if all we do is play in the children's room or color some pictures while we're there. I started requesting books online during the beginning of the pandemic when everything was closed. They would package them up for me and I made an appointment and picked them up. This led to a slippery slope where I now request ALL the books and usually have maxed out my library card at all times. My husband says I have a problem. I say IT IS FREEEEEEE so it's not a problem.
Libraries rock! I always feel good in a library.
LIbraries are so magical, it's a sign of everything that is good about humans and we overlook it. How amazing they have existed as long as they have, all those people and characters and writers living quietly alongside us as we work or whisper or make up stuff in parallel--millions of lives across centuries and countries in parallel play!! Reading aloud to my kid was one of the greatest joys I've known, and will always remember the sound of my young son's voice when we first read books he found funny. I also want to see a movie or graphic novel about Paperback Jack--just, yes please.
Oh, libraries. My very favorite place on Earth. Especially those on a university campus. Heaven I tell ya. I remember when I learned about The Black Dahlia murder and was obsessed with researching everything about it(I still am). The Los Angeles library system was my go-to. Books, 1940s newspapers, microfiche. Heaven.
I love going to the library, but I almost never do anymore, because I can check books out from my couch and they magically and instantly appear on the device in my hands. E-books have spoiled me.
It also amazes me constantly that almost no one I know has a library card. I mean, there's so much free stuff there, why on earth would you pass that up?
My library is my second home and when I travel I always pop in to the local library to see what’s on the shelves. So many books and only one lifetime :(
Yes! I get almost everything I need from the Brooklyn Public Library. I love it SO much!
Once you're done re-branding libraries, can you get working on tap water, vegetables, and public education? Okay, thanks!