September 10, 2022

How to love your library

︎︎︎Moscow/Pullman Daily News

It seems straightforward, right? Everyone loves a library: the picture books, the programs, the comfy chairs, the quiet, the air conditioning, the crafts, the community. It’s a place to run into your neighbors or even to meet them for the first time. It’s a place to get involved—to learn and grow and integrate.

For these reasons, I am often asked the sweetest questions: “How can I support the library?” or “What can I contribute?” In fact, I find that library patrons are very gifted at expressing gratitude and, for their constant generosity, I am grateful too. Except that there is something I have been longing to tell them. The best way to love your library is to use it.

For example, if you have ever had three books in your hand and thought, “I should just take one because I don’t want to be greedy,” I say, “be greedy!” If you have ever asked, “Can I read children’s books as an adult or is that silly?” I say, “be silly!” If a child has lamented, “I can’t choose just one,” I say, “don’t make them.”

Within the Whitman County Rural Library system, I believe that there is no such thing as greedy, or silly or stifled. How can there be when libraries are designed with you in mind? When the perks exist for the taking, take them. Use the wireless internet, online news access, weekly storytimes, STEM kits, Discover Passes, free audiobooks and movies and language learning services, affordable printing, meeting space, book clubs … and enjoy a free friendly face.

Speaking from experience, librarians want you to have what you need. Is there a book on your list that you can’t find? Please ask for it. Is there an event you would love to see in your community? Let us know.

In a world where a resource is only considered valuable by its usage and where abundance is in short supply, I ask you to simply consider your evergreen local library, where hundreds of books can be browsed, where local history is at your fingertips and where most of it can be yours for a few weeks at a time. I ask that you encourage one another to bring a book home — or two or three — or to visit the library with your family after school this year. I ask you all to be generous with yourselves, and to know that this place is for you.