A little while ago my local library invited visitors to write down what they love about the library. Here are a few of the comments that got pinned to the board.
Public libraries are having to work hard to preserve federal funding right now, school libraries too. In a recent article from Publisher's Weekly, I read that former NEH Chairman, William D. Adams recently pointed out that it was no accident that the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts were established alongside the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act as part of of the “Great Society” legislative push. He added that the “humanities and democracy are deeply and permanently intertwined in the history of the life of this country.” I paused when I read that. (See link to full article below.)
It seems so obvious - that the freedom for all to access and read literature in a public library should be so closely tied to the growth of democracy. It has been a thorny path over time and we have a long way to go yet, as evidenced by the profound need for more diverse and inclusive books within the current arc of children's literature, but public libraries encapsulate the pursuit of this liberty. History tells us what happens when it is threatened and overcome - books get burned and the single story takes hold, choking democratic values. This is a fight worth participating in. For more information see the links below.