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Old 08-08-2019, 10:43 AM   #1
leebase
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A sad library tale

I was born a poor black child. Ok...no I wasn't...and neither was Steve Martin (if you don't get the reference, google it).

I was born and raised working class. Neither of my parents graduated high school, though both got their GED's later in life. My mom read books, but I wasn't raised with her. I don't think I ever saw my dad or step mother read a book.

I, however, had an affinity for books from as early as I can remember. I loved the school library. I loved the Weekly Reader and saved my pennies to buy books. I was a library cadet from as young as they started all the way through high school.

One year, in our small town of 1,100 people, they set up a library in a closed store front for the summer. I spent every day in that library reading books. Or at home reading the books I checked out. My step mom would have to chase me out of the house "go play, let the wind blow the stink off ya". I'd take my book and go read outside.

At the time, I was really into old westerns. Old because all the books were old. I don't know why for the Westerns part....I hadn't discovered Sci-Fi yet.

At the end of the summer the town had a vote whether to keep the library going or not. The measure failed by one vote. Neither of my dad nor my step mother bothered to go vote. There went our library.

It never occurred to me to keep going to the library after college. By then, I could buy my own books. I live in a fairly well to do suburb now and it has an excellent library....several branches in the same town for convenience. I used to take my kids occasionally when they were little.

Maybe when I retire and am on fixed income (my retirement years are not looking golden at all)...I'll go back to being a library customer.

So that's my sad tale. I love libraries. I love them even if I couldn't care less whether they carry enough of the latest Oprah book.
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:22 AM   #2
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And remember when it was a given that if you were talking the librarian would shush you? Now days it seems people make all the noise they want regardless of the idea of courtesy.
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:59 AM   #3
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Being a city boy, I grew up with access to a couple of good libraries. Heck, one of the branches was in the lower level of the first mall in our area of town. Eventually, that mall space became too expensive for a library, but by that time, I was older and mall book stores (B. Dalton's) were a thing.

Yea, I was a regular fixture at the library. It was actually within bike riding distance (several miles), so by the time I was 8 or 9, I was riding to the library on my own, something that likely would never happen these days. I would normally check out a stack, go home, read them and them bring them back a few days later for a new set. None of the books were particularly new books. I grew up reading adventure books from people like Joesph Altsheler and Jules Verne, i.e. books that were at least 50 years old when I was young.

When I was a teenager, I worked in the local library, helping with the children's program and shelving books. Once again, the children's program was heavy on crafts, bringing in people to show interesting stuff (the zoo brought in a lion cub, my job was to stay between the kids and the lion at all times. I usually skip the cub part of that when I tell that story. <grin> ) and occasionally reading to them. Not much on the latest and greatest though. The wonderful thing about kids is that, as Mick Jagger said, everything is new to them.

It's been a long, long time since I regularly went to a library and checked out a book. I have no real need to and generally libraries don't buy a lot of the genres that I read. I don't really expect them to. I generally think of libraries as a place where children are exposed to books and a place for research. I most likely have a much bigger selection of SF&F and military history in my personal collection than the local library has, it's certainly true of their ebook collection.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:31 PM   #4
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What's the sad part of the tale?

As for me, I remember my grandmother taking me to the beautiful, old Spokane library when we would visit them for the summer.

When I got my first library card, I was sure there was an angle I was missing. This place would let me take books home? For free? Something didn't add up.

I never use libraries now and likely won't anytime soon. But I do think they are a public good and don't begrudge my tax dollars going to them.
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Old 08-09-2019, 03:47 PM   #5
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It was sad that I loved my local small town library....only to lose it when if my own parents had voted, we would have kept it
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:07 PM   #6
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A whole county in southern Oregon refused to fund their libraries (Douglas County). They all shut down over a year ago. Some are starting up again as nonprofits, one got a tax passed but only for the bigger city in the county (Roseburg). It was a mess determining which city got which books. This is what happens when people are illiterate and anti-tax.
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:19 PM   #7
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Its funny how some kids like books even though there parents never did. Its like being the changeling child. I guess there's hope for humanity yet.
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:45 PM   #8
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I discovered the library when I was 6. The "sad" part was that I was relegated to the children's section, and had to walk to the back of the building and enter through the basement.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:59 AM   #9
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My middle grade tutor used to have a few books in his garage for us students to choose. Also he read and analyzed Beauty and the Beast for us once. That was the precise time when I became a reader. I was about 9ish, it was 5:45 pm, and the light bulbs gave off a yellow light. I always associate the yellow light and the chemical smell of the garage with a good read. I remember reading a fantasy book in French once. It was only 14 or 15 years later that I realized that the said book was part of the Narnia series.
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:19 PM   #10
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That is a sad story. It has to be harsh to be the child of non-readers when you yourself are a reader. I was fortunate that both my parents were readers. My grandmothers were also readers despite their limited educations, but often thwarted or ridiculed by my non-reading grandfathers for reading (they were mentally abusive). My grandmothers read up until they died despite the conflict.

I haven't been a library visitor in the last 3 years. The time it takes to care for my brother has made it difficult to take a couple of hours off to take my cousin's son to a movie. There is just no time to go to the library for a couple of hours. In addition, they only have a smattering of scifi and fantasy and almost no UK authors even in murder mysteries (in ebook/audiobook/CD). Still, I get about 12 ebooks/audiobooks a year from them, but buy most of my stuff online (Audible, Amazon, B&N, Kobo). In the next couple of years, my income will plummet and purchasing new material will be a thing of the past, so I'm glad my state and county place libraries among the important things to keep funding.

Last edited by Tarana; 09-12-2019 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by leebase View Post
It was sad that I loved my local small town library....only to lose it when if my own parents had voted, we would have kept it
Did you ask them to vote for the library? If it was me, I would have asked them to vote in favor of the library.
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:45 AM   #12
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I think I posted about this over a year ago, but I miss my local library. It was in a storefront as well and was the only place I could access the internet. I would wait in line for the computer and read until it was my turn, then I would pop out my 3.5 inch floppy that had Mirc for IRC I would download programming tutorials, zines and whatever else interested me. There were two ladies there who were so kind to me and really made an impression on me.

I love libraries and everything they represent. I would not be the person I am today were it not for libraries. They were a bastion of free thought where I could read about anything I wanted without adult supervision or fear of judgement. A larger library in a nearby town would have 'Food Not Bombs' on the lawn, and I met a lot of interesting people who helped me break out of my small town mentality.

My library moved into a dedicated building some years ago and I haven't yet had a chance to visit.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Pizza_Cant_Read View Post
I think I posted about this over a year ago, but I miss my local library. It was in a storefront as well and was the only place I could access the internet. I would wait in line for the computer and read until it was my turn, then I would pop out my 3.5 inch floppy that had Mirc for IRC I would download programming tutorials, zines and whatever else interested me. There were two ladies there who were so kind to me and really made an impression on me.

I love libraries and everything they represent. I would not be the person I am today were it not for libraries. They were a bastion of free thought where I could read about anything I wanted without adult supervision or fear of judgement. A larger library in a nearby town would have 'Food Not Bombs' on the lawn, and I met a lot of interesting people who helped me break out of my small town mentality.

My library moved into a dedicated building some years ago and I haven't yet had a chance to visit.
We are related LOL! When my mom came to the mainland from Puerto Rico one of the first things she said was "go to the library with your sister!" To this day, that was the best thing she ever told me. I pay my taxes gladly knowing a portion goes to the public library. I read online so I can manipulate the font (age), but I still go now for the chance to learn about my community.
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Old Yesterday, 03:50 AM   #14
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My "local" library is scheduled to be closed next year. My town will still have several library branches, but the one just minutes from my house will be closed to the public. It seems that only the high school students used it, since it is actually attached to the high school. Imagine that. But all is well, I got my card minutes from my home before it "transitioned" into a school library, instead of 5 miles away for the nearest other branch (which also is attached to a high school? Hmmm.). Local branches might disappear, but the library will survive.

BTW- I don't think I ever saw my parents with a book, ever. But they were depression era children, food, housing, jobs, clothing, and supporting a family were way more important concerns for their generation than reading. But I always read about something as soon as I had an interest, way before I tried it or otherwise committed to doing it. Back then the saying was "books are knowledge," and it is true today. Google still doesn't tell you everything you need to know, but chances are books can give you everything you need but actual experience.
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