One of my favorite movies as a kid was The Pagemaster with Macaulay Culkin. It was about a boy who found himself taking shelter from a storm inside a very empty library except for the lone librarian. The boy ended up having to overcome these different obstacles and adventures before he was able to return back to normal.
The idea of getting lost in a library only to have to live out the stories fascinated me. Along with the fact that I could never quite understand why such a grand library was so deserted. (The library in this movie was beyond cool looking.) With all of those books to be read, the idea that no one was fighting over getting to read as many as possible always baffled me.
Now fast forward 21 years and I find myself dealing with a similar feeling.
“Nobody goes to libraries anymore.”
These words struck me as odd when I heard them while watching a TV show with my husband the other night. I had to rewind the scene to make sure I heard the dialogue correctly. Sure enough,I heard correctly. My husband laughed a little and muttered that they obviously hadn’t met me.
Touché husband, touché,
It was Monday night and already I had been to the library twice this week. Just earlier that evening I had taken my son and a neighbor’s daughter (ND) so that they could pick up a stack of books for after test reading this week.
When we arrived, I let the kids loose to find what they wanted. At first I noticed that ND was kind of wandering around, looking for something but she had a scrunched up face about her. She had wanted to search for a specific book, but the one of the catalog computers was out of service and the other was occupied. She hadn’t ever been out of the “children” section before so when I took her to a different machine in the “main” part of the library, her face was in awe. It was incredible. She was down right giddy.
“Oh, I like mysteries!” she said. And after further conversation, I determined that what she was looking for was the horror genre, not mystery. We quickly found the book she had been looking for and then I steered her towards R.L. Stine’s collection (safely back in the children’s section) where she went home with his first two Goosebumps series. (Thank God, I wasn’t sure how her mother would have felt had I let her come home with a stack of Stephen King novels.)
In a matter of minutes, these two had their arms loaded down with books. It was hilarious, partly because at this moment they were competing on who could check out the most books. The other part was because I kept waiting for one of them to drop their stack – I am the mom who likes to point and laugh…
UnFortunately, no books tumbled to the ground, we managed to check out with 40 books between the three of us (some of these books were designated for the two younger siblings that were unable to tag along), and I had the pure joy of experiencing someone else’s excitement over books.
This leaves me with the question… why does Hollywood think that libraries are dead?
Do they think we aren’t reading? Surely they are smarter than that.
Is it because ebooks have come up in the world full force, and that is great, but guess what? Any given library has an exceptional ebook collection.
There are more published writers in today’s world than ever before so this can’t be the reason.
Today’s library isn’t just for old dusty books anymore (were they ever?), and it is not just a place for someone to use the computers for free (Monday night, the computers were almost all vacant, thank you very much.)
The library is a community for the community. It is a place for all, it doesn’t care what your race is, your gender, your age, your likes, dislikes. No matter who you are, there is something at the library for you.
Just please, do not bend the pages.
Do you have a favorite library? Is there a special library that you hope to visit one day? I’d like to visit all of them…
(Too bad I didn’t think of this post last week during National Library Week…)