The value of libraries


To the editor:

When I attended Prospect Elementary School in the 1950s, the school library was a tiny room on the second floor. The librarian would attach notes to a string and lower them to the first floor where to our delight we could see them dangling in the hallway until the teacher would collect them. I like to think that some lucky child got to take the note to the office.

Books of course have always been a part of my life from being read to as a child to reading to my own children and of course reading to myself. Very special times at Prospect were the times that Eleanor Owens from the Oberlin Children’s Library would visit and read to us. In turn, we would visit her. In later years I joined high school classmates reshelving books in the glass floored stacks of Carnegie.

Of late, I’ve noticed free libraries even smaller then the one at Prospect. These libraries are small gabled boxes mounted on posts on curb lawns. Future libraries promise to encompass and include so much as to become major community assets. So before you tear anything down and build another school, think of community learning and resource centers and how current buildings might be creatively used.

One more thing, hire lots of extraordinary children’s librarians — that is really all you need.

Tom Taylor