Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Sad Lack of Understanding

How dare these kids read fiction? - Worcester Telegram & Gazette -

Here is my response to Diane Williamson's column: This is sad, not just because the "star" of the story doesn't appreciate public libraries, but because I have seen Peter Baghdasarian's extensive personal library, know that he loves books, and have discussed with him my "Public Library as Barn Raising" theory.  When a conservative complains that too many people want the government to do for them and take care of them, you would expect him to support any initiative that makes available the tools to take care of one's self, to pull one's self up by one's bootstraps.  That is exactly what public schools and public libraries are for.  He claims that " books are well within the means of most people to buy,"  That may be true for successful, employed adults, but here's the challenge: If a poor kid is growing up in a home where no one around them reads or cares about books, if he or she is willing to endure ridicule from those who might call them a wimp or a nerd for reading - the only "ticket" out of that environment - isn't it in all of our interest that this future citizen have access to the books and other resources to make that possible?  The Founding Fathers understood the need for a literate and educated populace, and that being able to climb out of the status of one's birth was a new and radical concept in a world of privilege through birth.  Public Libraries are among the most "American" of institutions.

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