Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Public Libraries Today

Give a helping hand to somebody less fortunate!

Most of the time when somebody says something like that to me, I get on my guard because I’m pretty sure I’m about to get asked for money. We have come to think that about the only thing we have that somebody else wants can be found tucked away inside our wallets. It’s a pretty sad modern state for most of us isn’t it?

I guess I believe that if we care enough, that is more important than any amount of money we could possibly throw at a problem. I suspect you’ve come to the same conclusion and if you still don’t believe me, you can go right now and lock your money up because I promise you I’m not going to ask you for a cent! In fact, I want to say thanks to you because you have bought my book and I’m really grateful to you for that. I believe that somebody who would buy Book of Aliases must be a nice, thoughtful person who likes art of the gentle persuasion such as is the nature of poetry. Maybe you have been reading my poetry for years already and have developed a fondness for it. If that’s the case, I’m even more grateful to you for caring enough to enjoy what I have given freely, hoping for someone just like you to come along.

So okay, you are a caring and intelligent person and that I already know. You have gone to the trouble to buy and read my book and hopefully enjoyed it, maybe even though it was pretty good. Maybe you’ve even given it as a gift to somebody you love or told a friend about it because you know that is the kind of reading they would enjoy. Thanks for that! It means more to me than you could imagine.

But what can you do for somebody else? I guess you are a pretty fortunate person, with a good education and a healthy bank account. In other words, not everybody is as fortunate as you are. Don’t get nervous now, I promised I wouldn’t ask for any money and I mean to keep that promise. What you can do is a lot simpler and much more caring than to pull out your credit card. This is a real act of love for somebody whom you will never meet and they probably will never guess somebody did this for them as an act of kindness and consideration.

Think of all the great books you have enjoyed over the years, many of which you got for free because you had a library card. You probably still have a library card and, if you don’t, that is the first thing you can do that won’t cost you a cent but might be a great boon for lots of people – so go get a library card.

You probably haven’t thought about it but in this modern, electronic age it is not only the big bookstores that are closing down … the public libraries are having problems too. It doesn’t matter so much to you because you’re all grown up and doing pretty well, not to mention the fact that you have your Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony or some other e-reader plus a good home library as well. What about the people who really need the access to a library these days though, don’t they deserve a chance to get the advantage of free printed material, including all the new stuff that’s coming out electronically? Did you know that they can even check out e-books from the library these days? Shouldn’t libraries be there for them too just like they were for us when we were kids?

So here’s the deal! First, if you don’t already have one, get a library card. Second, call the library and ask them for a copy of Book of Aliases and some of the other wonderful books that have meant so much to you in your lifetime. They’ll probably put you on a waiting list to check them out but that’s okay, at least they will know that people that read are still out there and, more importantly, that will give them a reason to exist. Third, when it comes your turn, check them out. You don’t have to keep them long and, if they are e-books, you don’t even have to return them. What could be simpler?

We can’t let this wonderful institution called the library cease to be and, even if you don’t need one so much these days, somebody who isn’t as lucky as you sure as heck will. Think about it and make the decision to show you care. And, as I promised, it won’t cost you a cent.

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