Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Libraries are some of my favorite places. I've worked in two of them.
Growing up, the library in my town had a youth card. When you were twelve, you could get a card to access the whole collection. But for a long time after I turned twelve, I wondered--why would anybody want to access the adult books? There was nothing to read there--at least, nothing enjoyable. Obviously (to me), all the best stuff was in the children's room.
I felt nostalgic when I read this article in today: 
University of Michigan Library to bid farewell to card catalogs

Sure, it's easier to search online. But I'm not sure I always get better results. Searching by author, title, subject--neat, clean, efficient--it worked well for me. 

On the other hand, the article also reminded me of a conversation I had with my oldest about investigating colleges. We were discussing an experience of some friends of ours on a tour of several colleges. 

Mom, you are not expecting me to go visit every library, are you? Because I'm not going to do it.

That's when I realized that he was right. When I went to college, the actual physical plant of the library mattered very much. And now--so much of the library is virtual. For a freshman at MSU, University of Michigan, or Wayne State, will the physical plant of the library make a difference? Not in the way that it did for me. 


But still, there is a limit, and I hit that limit at Skyline High School.  My middle child had an assignment from English class--choose a memoir, and read it. She told me she would stop by the school library and choose one. Later that evening, I asked what she picked. 

Mom, I couldn't find anything. That library has no books!

There is a limit! Aren't school libraries supposed to support the work of the students? Would it be so hard to have books, at least to support the work of the English department? 

Outcome: We found a memoir in our home. (Angela's Ashes, if you want to know.) Actually, we found a few memoirs. 

And Skyline: If you ask for some donations from families, I would be willing to donate those memoirs to get you started. And I will bet that I am not the only parent who would do that. 

Books. We can still use them. In schools.

No comments:

Post a Comment