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Save American Education: Take Children to the Library

Updated on February 1, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has spent 30 years working in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, and aerospace education for Active USAF Civil Air Patrol.

A Book is Like a Garden

Wisteria Arbor, Rose Garden, Huntington Library Gardens
Wisteria Arbor, Rose Garden, Huntington Library Gardens | Source

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.

— Chinese Proverb

To Be or Not to Be

The advance of the seasons to Autumn when children return to school brings not only thoughts of multicolored leaves and acorns and the yearly Fall Festival, but also questions about funding cuts in school staffing and public libraries.

Government and taxpayer-voted funding for schools and libraries has fluctuated significantly during the last two years and some libraries have been closed and lost forever.

Will libraries become passe and give way to Kindle® shelves in small kiosks on campuses?

I hope not. The electronic reader is great, but my best friends were books from the age of four. As an adult, I'd like to live in the back of a library or bookstore. Perhaps that is what I should be about right now, much like Ed of Ed's Used Books in The Cat Who... stories in Pickaxe, Michigan.

If libraries pass away, I hope America retains its used book stores until the end, my favorite being the now-defunct The Rookery in Fairborn, Ohio (now a video gaming store). The store was warm and large, filled with good aromas, and offering 17 rooms of books, each room a separate topic. Rare books were found in among the newer ones, when you had the time to spend for looking.

A comic panel of Berk Breathed's Opus shows his lack of acceptance of Kindle® - the penguin sat in an armchair with a book by lamplight, the electronic reader on the floor. Since then, Opus even appears on Kindle.

No matter what shape a book may take in the future, we need libraries full of them. To the average person in America, a library is like Hemingway's clean well lighted place - a clean, warm place to rest, read, and think, open at least 10 hours most days. Some libraries even have their own cafes.

Moreover, it's free, except for a minor tax burden. Children need these places as much as adults, sometimes for safe, free after-school activities for working families. Libraries are wonderful and it is imperative that we do not lose them.


If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries.

— Senator John F. Kennedy to the Saturday Review, October 29, 1960

Library Closings and Library Saves

Libraries that have not been closed altogether were largely forced into cuts to hours and staffing levels in Franklin County in Ohio through 2013.

Only one library retained the hours and staffing levels that it enjoyed before suffering funding cuts -- The Old Worthington Library north of Columbus is the only such in the county to remain a 7-day-a-week library and recently decided to remain open on Sundays during the summer, too. Upper Arlington libraries in the northwest open an hour later during the week, but hold onto their Saturday and Sunday hours with only minor cuts.

Despite all the cuts, including loss of full days of operations, all of the public libraries in the county hold children's and adult reading clubs during the summer and sponsor programs for back-to-school preparedness, toddlers and books, story hours, and several more programs at the discretion of each library's management.

Several award plaques and posters are found in these libraries for their innovation and good service. In 2013 - 2014, most of the libraries of individual communities in Franklin County became connected in a network that everyone here can access. This move has expanded readership and increased the numbers of publications available to more people.

A bookstore is one of the only pieces of physical evidence we have that people are still thinking.

— Jerry Seinfeld.

Quotes on Library Walls

Introduce your baby to books, even if it is just to chew on them. -- Anonymous

A bookstore is one of the only pieces of physical evidence we have that people are still thinking. -- Jerry Seinfeld. See a clip about Seinfield and the Library.

I used to go to the library all the time when I was a kid. As a teenager, I got a book on how to write jokes at the library, and that, in turn, launched my comedy career. -- Drew Carey

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx (1895–1977), Beloved American comic

Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries. -- Anne Herbert, American writer

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island.
-- Walt Disney (1901-1966)

There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't stay for nothing. -- Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451

A Friend at the Library

Cost Savings

Since books on Kindle can be less expensive and take up far less room than hardback or paperback editions, then the Kindle can be a cost saving device in the long run for American school and public libraries. Since children as early as Kindergarten are receive early computer usage training, they may be introduced to Kindle as well as to print books when they begin school, or before school years at home.

The drawback to electronic readers is the availability of a consistent and reliable power or battery source and Internet connection for additional downloads. Wi-Fi is becoming of greater use every day.

Importance of Libraries - Chicago

Twenty-Third Century Books

In the early portions of Star Trek's film The Wrath of Khan, Captain Kirk receives a birthday gift from Mr. Spock in the 23rd century - a hardback collector's edition of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It is a cherished gift from the standpoint of its age and format, but also as a symbol of the long friendship between the characters, especially after the temporary death of Spock. Kirk even wears regular eyeglasses to read the book, rather than to take the medication available to successfully treat eyesight problems that include presbyopia or "old eye."

Part of the message of The Wrath of Khan, then, is an admonition, from back in 1982 when this film was released, to cherish important people and things - like books. People are friends; books are friends. Let us preserve them both for the children of tomorrow.


Save Books and Libraries

The novella pictured to the is over 60 years old and difficult to find as an original print.

The author, Arthur Leo Zagat (1896-1949), wrote at least 500 short stories for Argosy and other early pulp fiction, considered classical publications today. We can read these stories and those of other classic authors of all writing genres on Kindle, often available in our libraries.

Into the 21st century, we can use our public and school libraries and participate in their programs to shoe the need to sustain consistent funding. We can take good care of their materials, volunteer in them, and encourage children to use as many of the offerings as possible.

© 2010 Patty Inglish MS

Comments and Experiences

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I like holding a book in my hands, too! In 2014, our local libraries extended their hours again after a new vote granted them funding and a few began opening on Sunday all year long, rather than just in the school months. meanwhiule, I found some wonderful libraries just overt the line in connecting counties. Books galore!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I don't think I'll ever own a Kindle because I absolutely LOVE holding a book in my hand (which I do several times each day). I have a large home library filled with my favorite authors (whom I frequently re-read) but I also go to the library on a regular basis (in fact have just spent the past week volunteering at our main library annual book sale). I'm sorry your local libraries are closing or reducing hours. The library system here in Savannah, GA must be doing OK, because they just opened two new branches (one a replacement building for a too small branch) in the past month and we have quite a large number of library branches throughout our county. Long may libraries live! I think they are indispensable!

    • Naomi Rose Welty profile image

      Naomi Rose Welty 

      9 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Thank you for this article! I work in a library and it is such a delight to see so much care, love and intelligence put into a discussion of what is happening to our libraries and why they are so important. Our circulation has gone up as fewer people can afford to buy books, yet we've been forced to cut hours across the system. Funding is very shaky right now, but libraries are every bit as important as schools and can provide things the schools can't. One thing we're seeing a lot of is people using our computers for their job searches. We also have some high school teachers bringing their classes to find actual books for their research topics, which is a great way to be introduced to the library if you haven't already discovered it.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I like that idea very much Nan.

      Yesterday, I heard a short talk by LeVar Burton, who said he wants to bring back his Reading Rainbow. That would be great.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      We need to start reading to our children at the age of 3. We can also read before to get them use to hearing sounds that later will help them to read and spell. Good article.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      There is nothing like a book (or the library that holds them). Certainly, a mechanical device may be ultra techno, but it will never replace the feel, texture, look and pictures of a book.

      You and I are on the same wave length-I wrote my last 'back-to-school' hub on libraries as well.

      Great hub.

    • kazeemjames01 profile image


      10 years ago

      Very educative. Thanks for sharing.

    • MichelleWright profile image


      10 years ago

      Something about the smell of a library and the books takes me back to childhood days. I hope the books stay around for a while longer so my children can appreciate the joy of going to their public library just a little longer. This is a truly wonderful hub!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I agree with everything you said. It would be a tragedy if the children of today are denied the pleasue of going to a library and looking through all of the books to finally choose a few that they can take home to read. Not to memtion the value of research.

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 

      10 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      This is a great hub Patty. I love libraries and it would be a shame to loose them.

    • myawn profile image


      10 years ago from Florida

      I love books and I have an e-reader. But still reading got me through a lot of hard stressful times.So I will still read regular books too.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      10 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      As you noted, libraries are changing. As an administrator, I had to make a difficult choice: eliminate the single certificated librarian and replace with a library technician. When I attend grammar school, (when plans had propellers) we did not have a library. The "bookmobile" came Fridays. I looked forward to checking out the maximum three books... As a teenager, in the summer time, I would ride my bike five miles to the public library. The library was a friendly, cozy place. Unfortunately as above hubber noted, the libraries are now become a refuge for homeless and loud music... Change is constant.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      All of these are great comments! Happily, there are many avid readers among Hubbers. Professional writers' advice to new writers is often to read as much as possible. I think it works, judging from the high quality writings of each of these commenters.

      Thanks a million!


    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      10 years ago from Great Britain

      This was a fantastic read, Patty. I can so identify with your idea of being happy in a book store or a library. Books are the 1st presents I can remember receiving (apart from dolls). I love being surrounded by books and the death of libraries would be a sad, sad day for sure. Loved the cookie monster in the libray too.

      Thanks again for a great hub

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Libraries here in Florida are a mixed bag. In part they are cesspools of humanity where the poor are forced to go to use computers when they don't own, or have access to one to apply for public services, submit job applications, fill out electronically mandatory forms for unemployment compensation. Among them are the homeless escaping the heat. Among them are hordes of young people and children dropped off at the doors by parents who use them as a free babysitting service. Teens who are there to not check out books but to play games, chat unsupervised on facebook, and listen to youtube albeit with headphones so loud that it is uncomfortable to be at the next computer.

      One of our two library branches, perhaps monetarily keeps afloat, by being places where probation officers meet their clients -- I'm not sure what the reason for that is. However, I do know that we've had one murder and two shootings at that library in the last two years.

      To attact young people to the library, one local branch has replaced story time with DJ led "events." Well, let's just say they succeed in getting the kids in (who promptly leave after the show), but for the rest of the patrons, who are relying on the nearby computers to search and for employment in some cases -- the noise level is unbelievable.

      At the other branch, the staff are "volunteers." The only books in the elibrary are ones you order, taking as much as three weeks to arrive. Their answer to Kindle is pre-loaded and portable audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs.

      At each of the libraries, there are about 40 computers for public use. So popular that there are hours long waiting times to get on one, fights over who is next, and an hour limit to use.

      The world of printed words and holding a book in your hands is changing. The world of libraries is also making dramatic changes. The loss of quiet in libraries disturbs me the most, only because I know that many young people have issues with distractions and wonder how all of this adds to learning issues. It's right up there with the times I've sat next to computer users who are searching for girlfriends online. The worst was glancing over to a man clearly in his late 50s or 60s, writing a young teen about the fact that there is a slight "age difference" -- means nothing when two people are in love.

      The future of libaries? Based on this summer's experiences, has me wondering about the future of literacy big time.

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 

      10 years ago

      Great hub. As a youngster living in a rural area our public library had what was then called a "Bookmobile." It made the circuit throughout our county and it was always a joy to visit the bookmobile to check out books to read. As a volunteer at my branch library,it is exciting to see children coming to our reading programs in the summer and I delight in taking my own grandsons to story hour each week.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 

      10 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I love books since my childhood. There was a Delhi Public Library approximately 2 kms away from my house. I used to go on bicycle each day to get a new book to read, but today, I am unable to find good libraries in my area and the most important thing is that I am not able to find some good book lovers too. When there will be no readers because I have turned to either video games or other hobbies, then maintenance and at worse survival of the libraries is ultimately impossible. Very nice hub Patty. My followers need to read this. I have bookmarked this hub to send it to my very few friends who love reading books.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      10 years ago from St. Louis

      It seems like I practically grew up in libraries. It will be a shame to lose them.

    • KwameG profile image


      10 years ago from MS

      Really Great hub about one of my favorite places.I too love libraries, and would hate to seem them closed. Weather or not they must remain a reportoy for paper books, maybe not be in the best interest of all, it would be cool if people were allowed to bring kindle and laptops and multimedia devices to library and be able to view and enjoy unique resources via these devices, for perhaps a minimal charge. Thanks again for a well researched and laid out Hub.

    • samsons1 profile image


      10 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & beautiful! Patty you are right on, loved this hub...

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      I often wondered what that Kindle etc will do to the world of books. I love books but will the next generation? Thank you for a very interestingly written hub.

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      I love books and the library. It would be so sad to see them completely go! I do not have a kindle, but would love to try one. I can see it saving on space. Right now I have a ton of books and bookshelves. On the other hand, I cannot see myself using one all the time instead of having a book.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      10 years ago from Central Oregon

      Everything you said in the Hub is true, and I am in agreement. The Kindle is great for travel and other times you cannot handle a book. I often fall asleep while reading...the book gently tents my nose, the Kindle will knock me out! :0) Libraries are like endangered animals - Librarians under appricieated! A Librarian is like finding the Leprechan's Gold...Fight to save your Library!! Peace


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