I’ve always loved libraries. I’m sitting in one right now. My writer friends and I get together a couple times a week to write together in a room in the library.

I’m the sort of person who gets a library card (or three) when I move to a new community before I bother getting a new driver’s license.

The only job I’ve ever had other than writer (I’m not counting temporary jobs or paper girl when I was 12) was library page in high school and college.

When I was in high school, I used to stay in the library after all the other employees went home and work on my novel. I loved being alone in the library after hours. I did that for months…until I got caught and was asked to “please go home when the library closed.”

Today, I’m a library volunteer. I help out with the teen reading group. I facilitate a teen writers group in the summer. My dog is a registered therapy dog and I bring him to the library regularly so kids can read to him. I’m also President of the Coralville Public Library’s Friends of the Library organization.

Libraries are wonderful places. If there’s something you want to know, you can always find the information at the library. Librarians are wonderful people: easy to talk to, always willing to help, always willing to take a stand against censorship. I’ve always known all that on an intellectual level, but I’m feeling it on a deeper level today.

When I walked into the Coralville Public Library this morning, my eyes filled with tears. And I just stopped and stood there in the entryway for a little while before I went downstairs to write with my friends. What an amazing place this is!

How lucky we are to live in a country where we are free to read and write what we like. There will always be people like Ms. Schifferdecker who will try and limit those freedoms for others (see my previous entry), but there are MORE people (writers, librarians and people from all walks of life) who are willing to stand up for your (and my) right to read and write freely.

How fortunate I am to live in a community where censorship rarely rears its ugly head.

I LOVE this library! Thank you, Coralville Public Library, for being here…for providing activities and opportunities for me and for my children…for carrying every single one of my books (even the naughty ones)…and for giving me a place to come and write with my friends.

Thoughts about libraries

3 thoughts on “Thoughts about libraries

  • February 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm
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    Amen! Beautifully written, Dori. Your love of the library shines through your words. We love you. Mom & Dick

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  • February 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm
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    Another wonderful post, Dori!

    I have cards at libraries in five neighboring cities. That’s hilarious that you stayed after hours writing a novel! When I was growing up, my mom bought groceries every Friday after she got off work as a teacher. The grocery store was about a block from the wondrous fat-columned Carnegie library. I loved, loved, loved it there. I always had a huge pile of books when my mom picked me up 45 minutes later. In the summer, I could walk by myself to the book mobile that parked at the mall. I still remember the excitement of stepping up into that air conditioned bus and wondering what new books I’d find there. I recently found my junior high yearbook. The librarian wrote: “We will miss your smiling face on Tuesdays when books are due.” (I’d forgotten all about that. Ha!)

    It’s so easy to take libraries and librarians for granted, but I feel so strongly that one of the most important and powerful distinctions of a democracy is the freedom for people to have access to a variety of materials and the right to read what they want. Nowadays, libraries also provide everyone access to computers, the internet and so much more.

    I love libraries and librarians!

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  • February 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm
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    Restricted Area

    Public Libraries are free and open access to information. There is no “restricted areas” just appropriate areas for different age groups. It all seems like such a non issue. It amazes me that after 300 years some have not evolved from our puritan roots!

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