First of all, let us consult the profound and deep wisdom of one of the most important people of our era, Carl Sagan:
“Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors.
“The library connects us with the insights and knowledge, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species.
“I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.“
He also said:
“Books are patient where we are slow to understand, allow us to go over the hard parts as many times as we wish, and are never critical of our lapses. Books are key to understanding the world.”
These are, in my opinion, valuable yet traditional views of libraries. Some people might say that the availability of a variety of unbiased knowledge is the most important resource of libraries. I feel like a lot of people think that way. I don’t know the validity of my claims, of course. However, for me, that just isn’t true.
The most valuable resource my library can provide, particularly to my teens, is a refuge. A place to hang out. A place to be safe. A place to be themselves. A place to see friends, to meet new friends, to try new things, finish their homework, procrastinate, watch movies, play video games, get advice. It is their third space, away from home and school. The library is so much more than it used to be! And I want to do everything I can to keep it that way.