When I was a child, the public library was a haven. I knew where to find the books I wanted by memorizing their relative location on the shelves in the basement (the kid's section). With glee, I took the "secret entrance" hidden behind bushes in the front of the building. The haunted second floor called to me with its dark woodwork, high ceilings and creaking floors.
School libraries were always special places, especially during junior high after we found all the "dirty words" in the urban dictionary.
When I was in college, I'd walk through the stacks just to be surrounded by books. I studied in the stacks, finding the quietest corner I could: a desk tucked in an out-of-the-way niche. The library was safe. Peaceful. Alive.
I love the public library now. Its a place to find books to feed my ravenous second grader, new authors to explore, comedy DVDs to watch with my wife and prove I'm not all "ghosts and cobwebs".
Libraries are our friends. As a writer, I can think of no better monument to the written word. (Used bookstores are pretty awesome, too, but that's another post).
So here's the call to action:
This holiday season, think about a "gift" donation to a library (public or school). Libraries (almost always) take cash donations, and most won't turn away a book. Think about buying a copy of your favorite novel, collection, or biography (if the library doesn't already have one). Better yet, introduce them to something from the small press and help support writers who might not be on the "radar".
Our school library is running a campaign through Book-Boosters to raise money (www.book-boosters.com/bulldogbooks). I think its a great idea.
On Monday, I'll mention a few "gift ideas". Let me know if you have a book you'd like me to include (aaron.polson(at)gmail.com).
Have a safe weekend.