The library that I went to as a child had a security guard. The bathroom was locked and you had to whisper ask for a key from a very grumpy-faced 80-year-old librarian wearing polyester. You had to have special permission from your parents to check out anything “upstairs” in the adult section. You had to sit silently during story hour or you would not be rewarded with your red juice in a styrofoam cup and generic oreo. And the saddest part it was a Carnegie Library: a beautiful two story library with an atrium and a 20 foot tall tree growing from the children’s section to the upstairs adult world. Despite the fact that I had to work so hard to get over these walls to immerse myself in the magic of the library I was still smitten… Then I moved to Athens, went to college, never left, had children… and I realized in Athens what a gift it is for the magic of libraries to be so available, welcoming, open and accessible for children: story hours that feel like summer camp, interactive art projects, building with large cardboard boxes, snakes, magic shows… My sons feel welcome in the library, and I feel that the Athens library is truly a community center. I thank you.