I’m thrilled to be participating in PA Forward’s Speak Up for PA Libraries events today with some school visits in Haverford! School and local libraries made me the reader I am, because there was no way my mom could afford to buy me all the books I wanted to read. It was through libraries that I discovered William Sleator’s Interstellar Pig, which introduced me to the science fiction books that influenced me as a person, and eventually as a writer. (I know: Writers are technically people too.)
Libraries are so vital to our communities, even in this information age of computers and internet: They offer much more than entertainment, including valuable resources and educational opportunities, and don’t underestimate the importance of a safe place outside of the home where kids can go to hang out and make new friends — if not with other kids, than with books. I still love to be in a room full of books! Kids all over the country, and especially in Philadelphia, don’t necessarily have access to high-speed internet or books; many of us take these things for granted, and today is a great day to acknowledge and celebrate how invaluable libraries and librarians are in curating their collections, reaching out to patrons and fostering a love for reading, and developing incredible, fun programs for young readers — including bringing illustrators and authors like me to schools and libraries, which is one of my favorite things about being a published author. I never met any authors when I was young; if I had, I might have pursued a writing career sooner!
Tell me about your favorite library in the comments below. Why are libraries important to you?