Last night, a former librarian whom I’ve gotten to know through FB, posted an article about how the library did not close in Baltimore during the height of the unrest. I found this almost spiritual in its significance. Libraries to me are filled with hope and meaning.
The library also stayed open in Ferguson during the stressful period there. “Books and reading save lives,” someone tweeted at the time.
For most of us, the library is always a tried and true friend. Libraries can improve lives. For Baltimore, however, that’s a tall measure. While Maryland is the wealthiest state in America, one in 10 there live below the federal poverty line. HERE.
A 2013 study that came out by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health compared Baltimore to Johannesburg, New Delhi, Shanghai and Ibadan, Nigeria. Some of the worst conditions for young people were found in Baltimore.
But for the people of Baltimore, who are right now struggling to see the good in each other, the library there is apparently a clear beacon of hope. Come in and sit a spell it beckons. Learn from me. Take refuge.
Our libraries can be taken for granted, but we are still privileged to have access to books and a good public library in the community.
In city libraries, people, who can’t afford computers, go to look up critical information online. Sometimes it means a job. Busy…bustling libraries…still the heart of knowledge in America.
I grew up able to love and enjoy libraries, but for many the library is relied on for hope in a troubled world.
We also know that school libraries, when they are filled with good books and technology in elementary, middle and high school have students who obtain higher reading levels. Test scores are higher too when students have access to real librarians.
The public library can’t save Baltimore’s youth by itself, but along with good public school libraries it can be a piece of the puzzle.
One bright star on a mostly dark night in Baltimore.
If you are like me and you love libraries, donate to one. Or see if you can volunteer to help out.
Donate to public school libraries too. Support them.
Ensure that young people learn to love the library…because the tweet was right, books and reading could really save lives.