I love libraries! I mean really, it’s kind of hard not to! Free books, coffee, and information often housed within neat, well-lit, and historical spaces. Wonderful nooks and cozy crannies to explore, and not to mention some of the best writing spaces in the world!
Not only was I able to finish my first young adult science fiction novel inside my local library. But I also work in one. So as a writer and an avid library-lover, I’ve been blessed enough to enjoy the best of both worlds! I hope you can also! Below are five reasons why libraries are so important to humanity.
We are Living Libraries
Just like a smartphone, the human mind has been endowed with the exact same ability to access tons of information. Like the internet, libraries help us activate information and remind us that knowledge is power. Libraries also help us spread and share knowledge with the world and the ones we love the most.
Not only are libraries places we go to learn something new about the world. Libraries are information ciphers that help connect us to our self. Libraries are reservoirs of knowledge strategically placed within the community to help us see the world from a different perspective. Libraries help us explore various parts of society and most importantly they help provide enlightenment and understanding where doubt or fear once lived.
In the infamous words of New York Times best-selling novelist and American Library Association National Ambassador for Young Adult Literature, Jason Reynolds, “If my body is a temple, like my mama said, then it is possible that my body could be a library, maybe what librarians really are, are architects, and your libraries are warehouses where we build human libraries.”
Libraries Encourage Sacred Creative Spaces
Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate libraries because they expect little from the individual, yet give so much to the community. Libraries offer a safe space for creativity, curiosity, and inspiration to blossom. When you walk into your local library, you’re often greeted and welcomed. If there’s no greeting, no worries! I’m sure if you wander around long enough you’ll find a great book waiting for you!
Unlike schools, libraries don’t come with a curriculum and textbooks. But instead free Wi-Fi, endless aisles of books, and cozy fireplaces to warm your entire being!
In the library, there are no teachers to tell us what to read and think, nor parents to tell us who to be in this life, just librarians who mind their business.
Libraries Encourage Time Travel
Whenever I browse the aisles at my local library, I find myself awestruck by the entire science fiction and fantasy section. I skim for books that will give me the chance to experience an epic revolution on an alien planet. Or quench my thirst for a breathtaking coming of age novel post humanoid invasion. Browsing for something new to read in the library has become a ritual.
Libraries encourage wandering, which in library-land we call browsing. You know that in-between worlds sort of mental space in which you find yourself one with the shelves as you scan each opening for a new story that is destined to take your mind into worlds your imagination has yet to explore.
Libraries Are Resilient
People often flock to libraries in the heat of economic downturns because libraries are resilient. Fundamentally operating as a safe space for budding creatives, readers, and knowledge seekers, a library serves as the perfect place to get people out of their house and into an uplifting and productive environment.
People from all backgrounds come to the library to get out of their norm and into their imagination. Libraries offer cozy cafes, hand painted lattes, and amazing pastries. They house a wealth of other resources to. As such, libraries serve as a databases for humanity, making them a vital ingredient to humanity’s future.
Libraries Are Technology Detox Zones
I love libraries because they give me an excuse to turn off my cell phone and sit in silence, one of life’s most cherished pleasures.
In the Age of Information, escaping technology can be an impossible mission as technology is all around us. Though most libraries do have free WiFi and materials to help connect you to the internet, they also encourage patrons to disconnect from the digital world and simply decompress.
There have been times when I came into the library with the intention of spending an hour or two on the internet doing research, only to end up falling in love with an amazing book and my phone never seeing the light of day. Libraries provide the tranquility necessary for people to hear themselves think and most importantly the inspiration to put those thoughts into action. It is this very ability that has helped many great writers like Karl Marx, Betty Friedan, Era Writer, and many more to create their best work inside their favorite library. The only question left to ask now is, what does your library mean to you?