I’ve been meaning to write about National Library Week which, I think, ends today or tomorrow; and with the proposed federal cuts to the arts, including libraries, I think it’s important now more than ever to do whatever we can to keep libraries going. My 7-year-old loves going to the library and currently, his favorite books include Marc Brown’s Arthur series and the Berenstein Bears.
His choice of the Berenstein Bears took me by surprise. I remember reading about the Bear family when I was much younger, and for a while there, I thought their values were considered outdated by the new generation. But my son loves them just as much as he loves Dr. Seuss’s books and often reads them out loud to me. He just inherited his older cousin’s books and we have to empty my bookshelf of massage-related reference books to make room for his growing collection. He even includes my books in his collection, something that warms my cold heart every time I see them amongst his favorites, although he just declared that as much as he loves my books, “chapters” are too long for his taste.
The library has always been my solace, my sanctuary. I spent a lot of time between the stacks, whether it was at the school library and the USCIS library in Cebu, the Los Angeles Public Library with its underground levels here in L.A. and the New York Public Library whenever I visited my mother. Libraries provided me with everything I needed to learn beyond the home and the classroom; it revealed whole new worlds to me, of historical times and the future, of creatures so different from me and not so different.
To imagine a world without libraries is something I cannot fathom. It will be a world of ignorance and of darkness.
I only hope that people in power recognize the importance of libraries in the local communities and that even though they may have their own personal libraries in their grand homes, their townhomes and offices, people like my son needs libraries to go to as well. Libraries are not just a place for books but of community and inclusion. Refusing to see their importance and cutting federal funding baffles me to no end except for the sad realization that the future that awaits my son and his generation is not turning out to be a kind one.