Yesterday, my wife and I went to the library. My Mom grew up in Provo, and back then, the Provo library was apparently on the 1st E, between 1st N and Center Street. She lived on 1st East, and she says when she was a little girl, she’d just walk down the street to the library, and then home again with an armload of books. She had a goal, she said, of reading every book in the library. I had the same goal when I was a kid.
Since then, the Provo library has moved. Its former location, 4th E and Center, is now the Covey Center for the Arts. Academy Square, the building that was once part of the BY Academy, is now our library. It’s a beautiful building. But then, libraries are always beautiful buildings.
I know books are passe. I know the publishing industry is struggling, along with newspapers and magazines and other print media. I still read a daily newspaper, but almost entirely on-line. But books are still glorious. And libraries.
We went to the library yesterday and we checked out nine books between us, and returned nine. Between the two of us, that’s a normal week. She reads a bit more than I do, but we’re both just voracious. When we were dating, books were a constant topic of conversation. We’d read, and chat about what we read, and it drew us together. Every town we live in, the first thing we do is find the local library and get library cards.
I mean, think about it, how great it is. Knowledge of far-away places and of current events, the fundamentals of science and the incidents of history, stories invented and real, all available in an easily portable format, for free, in a building intended to serve everyone. It’s unimaginable, the glory of it.