Why do I love the Library?
When I worked in Public Library world, we capitalized on the celebrations around Valentine’s Day and gave our patrons paper hearts to answer a prompt on and hang up. The prompt was always, “I love the Library because….”
Lately, I’ve been asking myself, why do I love the Library so much? In some ways, it is an existential one. In August, I became the School Librarian at the Christina Seix Academy in Trenton, NJ. Still a new school, the Academy spent the first 7 years without a Library. A physical space existed and book donations sat on the shelves, but there was no soul within the walls.
Since the beginning of my tenure, I have been working to build a welcoming space that is reflective of our community. I have tried to bring students into the space, and paint a picture of what it will look like, and all that will happen there; and for some of our students, this is their first interaction with a library. Their first opportunity to be surrounded by books and have that awe inspiring moment that so many of us have had and seek to give others. They are curious, and excited- eager for the space to be everything they have imagined in their minds, plus more!
Last week, our Opening Day Collection arrived, and as I slowly unpack and organize things, I have been reflecting on this crossroads and my own feelings. I am selfishly thrilled to see something I have envisioned come to life, but I am also excited for the Library to take on a life of it’s own. For people to come inside, find a book, play a game, or just quietly reflect- for the Library to become a third place.
So, why do I love the Library? I love the Library because it’s books allow me to travel without ever having to leave. Characters in books don’t judge me, I love the Library because it is a welcoming space to my students-even when it’s empty! On their way to lunch or off to music, they come in and say hi, usually staying well past their next course’s start time. But most importantly, I love the Library because of all that it can and will be for my students and their families.
Happy Valentine’s Day, and ask yourself, why do you love the Library?