Wednesday, April 6, 2011

La Biblioteca

If you know me,  you know I love my library and I have loved the library since I was a girl.  Also, I have been especially fortunate to have always lived within walking distance of the library.  

In the last year, our town's library has threatened to close down twice.  Each time, I have gotten really worried and sad that such a wonderful resource should be facing closure.  Surely monies could be allocated in a different kind of way to make sure that something as important as the town's library (for goodness sake) remains open.  To me, it really spoke to the priorities of the people who live in my town.  When I decided to be more compassionate and understanding, it really spoke to me about what the people who live in this town are focused on instead: survival.  This economy has ravaged folks and my town is no exception.  It is split down the middle by the proverbial train tracks.  On the south side you will find projects, gang activity and all the other accoutrements of the ghetto.  On the north side, it might as well be a different town:  beautiful houses and well-to-do families. The south side folks are focused on eating and, well, staying alive.  The north side folks are, it seems, trying to make sure to have as little to do with the south side folks as possible.  In fact, they often call the north side a totally different name just to make as much distance as possible.  There's a commuter train close to that side and it's actually closer to walk to the neighboring town's library if you live on the north side.  The town's three best schools are also only available to you as a town's person if you live on the north side.  And so the town's library, which is (sadly) situated on the south side, suffers.  
Photo Credit

I, however, have been faithful to the library through it all.  I hold it dear.  Even if I can't get material that I need there, I can always do an interlibrary loan and there is no charge (and some town's libraries do charge for a hold).  I don't know: to me a library is invaluable.  Information or access to information is priceless.  I have been doing all I reasonably can to let the folks who run the library and run this town know that at least one family would take a serious hit should the library close.

I've often thought that one good way to breathe life and vitality into the library is through children's programs.  Parents (generally speaking) will bring their kids to a program they know their kids will enjoy.  Every Tuesday we go to a play/story time program.  They instituted this Tuesday program specifically for parents and their children since the Wednesday and Thursday programs had become overrun with daycare children.  The librarian who usually runs the program on Tuesday is a little odd.  I mean, he doesn't like to make eye contact with the adults but he puts on a pretty decent program for the children.  I really like that he puts some thought into picking the books he will read and the kids seem to enjoy it, I guess.  But he loses their attention because, truth be told, dude is boring.   The librarian who runs the Wednesday and Thursday storytime, however, is just more alive.  He gets out the CD player and puts on music the kids like and really engages with them and with the adults.  His book choices, though . . . yesterday he read a Maisy lift-the-flap book.  And I had to remind him that Hop on Pop is hell of long.  I was underwhelmed.  

So I'm not totally thrilled with the quality of the programs at our library and I actually make it to the story time a few towns over once a week so that my boys get a really good story time hour.  I wonder if it's chicken before the egg though:  are the programs not high quality because the town's people don't care or do the town's people not care because the programs are not high quality?  I can't be sure.  But I'll continue to go and show my support because even if it's not great, it's what we've got and it could be a foundation for something better.    

P.S.  Thank you Mama T for reading my blog and letting me know you did.  You inspired me today.  :)  

1 comment:

liberationtheory said...

This post made me sad b/c my local library has seriously reduced hours. The children's room is closed indefinitely and there are no weekend hours. And this is the largest city in NJ :(. I wanted to take my daughter there to experience the magic that is the library, but to no avail.

This is sad indeed.

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