When I was young and felt the times were out of joint, or I was, I discovered the public library. The children's library was in an old, brown-shingled house, the librarian was welcoming, and I resolved to start with the As and read my way around the entire floor. I didn't make it, but I spent a lot of time blissfully off in other worlds, and unconsciously learned other perspectives on life and people.
I have never lost my deep affection for libraries, nor my strong conviction that they are necessary for civilized life. The late and wonderfully welcoming Bonnie Sayce reinforced that feeling when our family was "summer people." One evening we discovered the Ocean Park library, then in the south end of the old school. We tied our dog to the flagpole and went in. He began howling. Bonnie said, "Would he like to come in?" Well, yeah. They don't let dogs in anymore, but I still feel the same warmth of welcome whenever I step in.
Of course there's lots more to libraries than the escapism of my youth, though that's still a plus. There are books, videos, tapes, reference books and computers - the opportunity to learn so much. I hope we all support the upcoming library levy - in these times we need the free, public libraries more than ever.
K. Sharon Van Heuit