Monday, September 6, 2010

Have You Thanked a Librarian Today?

No, I'm not a librarian, but I really do appreciate libraries. My work as a student depends on them, but more than that, I love to read. I love the excitement of books, even though it's overwhelming to think of all the many books that have been published through the ages.

A book can change a child's (or anyone's) life. That's clear. A good friend of mine -- now a successful physicist (very smart!) said that he didn't think he'd be where he is today without the library he frequented while growing up. He comes from a small town in Oregon -- there weren't a whole lot of educational opportunities back when -- and school wasn't hugely challenging for him -- but he had the library. And to the library he went every day!

In the USA, we are extremely fortunate in our library system, and we should do whatever we can to support it and help it to continue to thrive. In many third-world countries, libraries are a true rarity. In Malawi, for example, most schools and communities have no libraries. If there is a library, you probably aren't allowed to take the books away because there are so few of them. I recently read a memoir of a young boy in Malawi who was fortunate enought to live in a place with a library. His was a rural farming community, but nonetheless, an NGO had established a library there. It changed his life. Although he was forced to drop out of school at the end of his primary education due to poverty, he taught himself electronics from a science book he found at the library. He built his own wind turbine and managed to bring electricity to his family's home. And he did some other amazing things, too. But those library books were needed to help him find an outlet for his drive and intelligence. Today, remarkably, given his humble origins, he is a student at Dartmouth College.

I highly recommend his book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba.

To read some other posts by bloggers who appreciate the library, go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment