Dear Library: From Mary


Dear Library,

In my travels, I’ve visited the ostentatious Seattle Public Library (designed by Rem Koolhaas) and others in Chicago, Toronto, Portland, and beyond. These little library tours remind me that my favorite institution is vibrant and growing all across North America. “A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind) which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.” Zadie Smith wrote this recently, reminding me that I learned my library lessons well. My mom read to me, Little Golden Books and others, and took me to library story times as a tot, setting me up for a lifetime love of hearing stories out loud. Smiling, loudly dressed Ms. Bossu simply made me feel welcome at Noble Neighborhood Library. Miss Motsch, with her gentle voice, lured us schoolkids into many tales, sometimes quite spooky ones. (She taught us the Dewey Decimal System, too.) These libraries were comfortable, wonderful spaces, but most importantly, these women quietly encouraged a sense of freedom of speech and freedom to explore and appreciate words. I learned to place a high value on “an indoor space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.” Again, Zadie Smith. So, I’ll visit more libraries on my next vacation from working at one. In the meantime, I’ll try to be one of those positive adults that every kid needs.

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