“I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.”
“Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203,” The Paris Review, No. 192, Spring 2010
Ray Bradbury’s words describe one of the foundational ideas about libraries: intellectual discovery, open access to information, and exploring passions. The library collects books and other resources as part of a collective agreement with its community: with your support, we will provide you with free access to information. People of all ages visit libraries to learn something new, research their family history, connect to the internet, etc.
With the start of the school year, education is on everyone’s mind. Schools provide students with the education that we have decided is necessary. But sometimes this does not overlap with what a student may want to know more about. It is impossible for a school to cover every interest of every student. The library is here to fill that gap. It provides unbiased access to those burning questions and curiosities. It isn’t education by requirement, it is education by interest.
What do you think? How do you use the library?