Tuesday, 24 May 2011

For the Love of Books

(As always, if pressed for time, feel  free to scroll down to the List of Things You can Do)
For the Love of Books
It was with great sadness that I heard the news of the fire in Slave Lake last week.  Losing one’s home and family heirlooms must be horrible, but what I found most heart-rending was the loss of the town’s library. 
Books, for me, have always been priceless.  They are a stepping stone, an escape, and a door to another world .  Libraries were pivotal places for me when I was growing up.  No matter how often we moved, my mother always made sure I had a library card and weekly trips to the local library.  Even when I was on vacation, visiting my grandparents in another city for a few weeks every summer, I was able to visit a library and borrow books. 
These days, libraries serve many needs.  Books can be borrowed, along with DVDs, and CDs (even really old ones you can’t find in music stores without difficulty). 

There are large and well-funded libraries that provide community lectures,  computers, internet service, places to watch movies for a few hours, and comfortable places to sit and read.

There are libraries with grand buildings and large sculpture, and smaller libraries with tiny budgets which can’t even afford to keep their doors open for full-time hours.

  There are even libraries that lend cake pans. Good libraries serve their community, provide access to knowledge and art, and usually a provide a little more. 
However, with the formation of online communities, libraries and book-sharing no longer needs to take place within a centralized building.  I don’t think libraries will ever, or should ever, be replaced.  However, there are many ways that one can take part in sharing knowledge and art, and in showing one’s appreciation of books. 
In celebration of International Towel Day tomorrow, I invite you all to consider the following list of options.  I would also encourage you to keep the Slave Lake Library in mind when discarding old books (see below).
So, here’s my list of things you can do:
  1. Help support the rebuilding of the  Slave Lake Library http://www.slavelakelibrary.ab.ca/ 
  2. Join an online book exchange http://bookmooch.com/
  3. Release books into the wild http://www.bookcrossing.com/ 

5.  Wear a towel tomorrow in solidarity with other book lovers.

6.  Get in touch with your local library and see what you can do.

As always, feel free to let me know what actions you took, and I’ll celebrate them on my blog (anonymously or not – your choice).

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