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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 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for 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


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