February is Library Lovers Month. There are many different kinds of libraries. Colleges and universities have large research libraries. Towns and cities have public libraries, holding more fiction and popular books, though there are materials for research as well. Businesses have special libraries of materials helpful to their employees. Often these are in the form of periodicals in the area of the business, as well as database access. Law libraries hold volumes of old court decisions to help lawyers as they prepare cases. Schools have school libraries to serve the children in their care. My own local library also has collections in the senior center and the jail. Each of these will hold different kinds of materials for different needs.
Contrary to popular belief, librarians don’t spend their time reading. They are likely to be helping patrons, choosing books, evaluating newer kinds of materials, purchasing items, applying cataloging information so that the books on a particular topic can be found shelved near each other, and many other tasks. Within that world, only those with a master’s degree in library science or closely related field are actually called librarians. Others receive on the job training and do some of the more mundane tasks such as checking out books, shelving materials, getting books ready to be used by the public and other such. But all have the same goal, which is to best serve the patrons, so they can be connected with the information they need, whether that’s looking up an arcane law, getting the latest Stephen King book, participating in a book club, watching a film, doing genealogy, bringing a child to story time, or much, much more.
It is very appropriate to celebrate libraries in this day and age when so many are closing from lack of funds. There are multiple reasons. People with the means are likely to just purchase what they need, or use Google. But as Neil Gaiman says, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” So show your local library some love this month.
Quotes about libraries
The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.–Albert Einstein
A library of wisdom, is more precious than all wealth, and all things that are desirable cannot be compared to it. Whoever therefore claims to be zealous of truth, of happiness, of wisdom or knowledge, must become a lover of books.–Richard de Bury
To ask why we need libraries at all, when there is so much information available elsewhere, is about as sensible as asking if roadmaps are necessary now that there are so very many roads.–Jon Bing
The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community.-–Paula Poundstone
We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth.–John Lubbock
A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination.–Caitlin Moran
What in the world would we do without our libraries?–Katharine Hepburn
Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.–Lady Bird Johnson
The library houses thousands of imaginations, thoughts of the living and the dead. A good day in the library means you see the world differently when you depart.–Robin Ince
More than a building that houses books and data, the library has always been a window to a larger world–a place where we’ve always come to discover big ideas and profound concepts that help move the American story forward.–Barack Obama
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