“At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.”
— President (then Senator) Barack Obama
Barack Obama was reelected as President of the United States of America a couple of weeks ago so I thought it only fitting to find a quote from him. He said this when he was a Senator, but he has mentioned libraries several times and I hope that it is an indication of the value he finds in libraries. The President, and the US government, have a lot on their table but I hope, as budget and economic negotiations continue, that Public Libraries will be on their radar as a worthy investment.
Personally, I don’t have a single memory of the first time I entered a library but more of a montage of images and impressions. I grew up in a small Texas town and the library was in an old downtown store that had closed. The light was dim and the smell of old books permeated the air. The collection was small, but I do remember getting books and possibly going to a few story times. I am not even sure how it was funded, and after searching on Google, it doesn’t appear to exist anymore. I have stronger impressions of the elementary school library, where I cultivated an early interest in all things science; and since I was at school everyday, it was a more convenient place to check out books. For me, it was the school library that provided that magic threshold into a world of knowledge and imagination. While no one book sticks out in my mind, I do recall spending hours in the astronomy section, learning the planets and being fascinated with drawings of space stations. I would check out whatever series the teacher happened to be reading to us in class, reading as many of the installments as I could, the titles of which are now lost from my memory. I left the town when I was twelve.