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library cardThe library. It was my refuge as a child, and the one place where I could access the world. In elementary and middle school, not only did I discover Judy Blume, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie and V.C. Andrews, but also Stephen King, Danielle Steele, and John Saul. The library has everything!

The first libraries, dating back to Sumer in 2600 BC, consisted of archives of the earliest form of writing. Since then, libraries have gone through many reincarnations and struggles. A recent article in The Economist tells us, “… libraries in general are struggling. Americans tell pollsters they love them, but fewer use them.”

Today, the lower cost of internet use and the abundance of internet cafes and bars is one competition for libraries. Most never cross the library threshold again once those research papers are handed in. The William Penn foundation describes libraries as “gateways to opportunity,” but it’s difficult for people to see what’s there if they do not visit.

Libraries offer plenty. First, they’re free – all the printed and on-line books you could want. That’s a huge perk in a world where almost nothing is free anymore. Plus, the library is much more than just books. The library has resources and enrichment programs to serve the community – year-round and for all ages. Finally, libraries provide a place to stay connected with the community. In a world where interpersonal communication seems to be on a rapid decline, the library still promotes community events and personal interactions.

I just picked up my new library card and checked out a few books. If you need help finding your closest public library, try this link: https://harvester.census.gov/imls/search/

Celebrate the freedom to read.

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