Friday, August 12, 2011

The Library

The other day I took my nearly two-year-old niece to the library for the first time. A lover of books it seems from the time she was an infant, nothing made her happier than being read a book. (Even if it was the same one over and over again.) As we made our way into the Columbus Metropolitan Library the look in her eyes can only be described as shock and awe. There were books everywhere she seemed to be thinking as she snatched her hand from mine and raced towards the shelf nearest us.

"Mine." She said as she grabbed down a book with colorful bears on the front cover. "My book!" She yelled as she snatched down yet another. We settled ourselves onto a couch and I read her book after book. As soon as we were finished with one she would jump down to pick another. I too have always been a lover of books, so I understood her elation. I began to think, however, about all of the children who don't have a plethora of books available to them.

In Zambia, Professor Mwizenge S. Tembo saw the need for a library in his village, so he started one. In his article, " A Professor Helps Raise a Library in His Native Town in Zambia"  Ryan Brown tells the story of Tembo who grew up without books himself, seeing his nephew  up late one night reading with a night light. He writes, "Curious, Mr. Tembo, who is a professor of sociology at Virginia's Bridgewater College, asked the boy the next morning what had kept him up so late. "Reading," he said. But when Mr. Tembo asked what book, his nephew shook his head. He didn't have any books, he explained. His reading material was the stack of notes he had taken that day in school."  Tembo decided right then that the children and his village needed a library.  Together Tembo, community leaders, and students in the small town of  Bridgewater, Virginia got together, raised money and collected books for the new library.  Of the new library  Tembo says, "The idea was not to build a monument, but something the community will use."

Even in the United States a lot of libraries are in trouble due to budget cuts, some have closed completely. Let's not take for granted something other people would readily pay to have. Support your local library by researching volunteer opportunities and ways to donate.  And return your checked out materials on time! :-)

1 comment:

  1. Great article. This is just a reminder of yet another thing we take for granted in these great United States of America. Ode to the Metropolian Library.