I continue to be astounded that there is such a thing as the public library. Having a safe, well-lit, inviting place where anyone in the community can go to read and relax is, quite possibly, the best expression of what makes civic life in America great. It makes me sad to think that there are communities out there that aren’t able to maintain their public libraries.
When we lived in San Francisco, we briefly belonged to a private library, which was convenient to where we lived and ran all sorts of film nights and lectures. But, it also served to insulate its members from the substantial homeless population of the City. In hindsight, while I don’t regret joining the Mechanic’s Institute in SF, I’m glad to be able to go to the Columbus Main Library for nothing more than the costs of my taxes. And I am fine with people who pay no taxes at all (children, those who make too little to pay) using the space as a clean, warm, comfortable place to spend their afternoons. And while I don’t like the idea of people using the computers to look at adult websites, I’m proud of Columbus for respecting the right of users to make those decisions for themselves.
Books. For FREE. One more reason why I wouldn’t want to live any other time in history.
I am a librarian. Thank you for your post and your use of your local PUBLIC library.
Thanks, Johanna. Public libraries are amazing civic institutions. I’ve been lucky enough to live in places with wonderful ones.