12 Authors Write About the Libraries They Love
October 22, 2018 12:11 PM   Subscribe

For most readers and writers — and book lovers in general — the library holds a special place of honor and respect. We asked several authors to tell us about their local public library or to share a memory of a library from their past.
posted by bq (5 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Read this earlier today, a pleasure. Of course, as a librarian, I'm biased.
posted by mareli at 12:14 PM on October 22, 2018

I loved these, but I was very bothered by this line from Neil Gaiman:

I started moving through looking for favorite authors — Brian Aldiss in the A’s, Ursula K. Le Guin in the G’s, R. A. Lafferty in the L’s and so on.

I hope a kind librarian quickly told him that he needed to look for Ursula Le Guin in the L's.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 12:37 PM on October 22, 2018 [13 favorites]

Zadie Smith and her own praise for libraries through the frame of her connection with the Willesden Green Library Centre, and really the benefit of public institutions.
It’s a short story about debt—because I owe the state, quite a lot. Some people owe everything they have to the bank accounts of their parents. I owe the state. Put simply, the state educated me, fixed my leg when it was broken, and gave me a grant that enabled me to go to university. It fixed my teeth (a bit) and found housing for my veteran father in his dotage. When my youngest brother was run over by a truck it saved his life and in particular his crushed right hand, a procedure that took half a year, and which would, on the open market—so a doctor told me at the time—have cost a million pounds. Those were the big things, but there were also plenty of little ones: my subsidized sports centre and my doctor’s office, my school music lessons paid for with pennies, my university fees. My NHS glasses aged 9. My NHS baby aged 33. And my local library. To steal another writer’s title: England made me. It has never been hard for me to pay my taxes because I understand it to be the repaying of a large, in fact, an almost incalculable, debt.
posted by bl1nk at 1:03 PM on October 22, 2018 [8 favorites]

Alright yall so here's just a couple of the reasons that the SF Public Library is freakin awesome:

SF City Guides Free Walking Tours are sponsored by the SF PL. We've gotten to know a number of SF's neighborhoods and various landmarks much more intimately thanks to volunteers who help research and then lead tours pretty much every day of the year, all absolutely free.

Discover & Go is SF PL's resource that offers free and low-cost passes for museums, science centers, zoos, theatres, and other cultural destinations. Accessed simply with a library card - great resource for those with limited funds to explore with. We checked out Coit Tower for the first time this past weekend.

There's also Drag Queen Story Time and a movie site streaming 30,000 movies. There's a reason we were Library of the Year in 2018.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:41 PM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

"...I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

"So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."

- Kurt Vonnegut, I Love You, Madame Librarian, In These Times magazine (August 2004)

(The death of a library, any library, suggests that the community has lost its soul. - K. Vonnegut, attributed; The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is still looking for a permanent home. Lessons from the Kurt Vonnegut Library, by Libby Walker)
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:30 PM on October 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

« Older Last Hero of Telemark   |   "[R]efusing to accommodate pregnant women is often... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments