A Love Letter to Libraries

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By: Cathleen Kiritz, President & CEO

February 14, 2020

Many decades ago, Harold and the Purple Crayon and I left a branch of the Kansas City Public Library together, friends forever. My life has been filled with stacks of books of all kinds—life-changing, half-read, unread, treasured, notes scribbled in margins, devoured, forgotten, cherished—all steadfast companions with deliciously tactile pages, patient, waiting to show me bigger worlds and new ideas. Pictures, text, transformation.

 

Nearly sacred in their service, libraries are quiet temples of knowledge, safeguarding while sharing books and their new media counterparts. I’ve always loved libraries so what a lapse that I’d never stepped inside the Los Angeles Central Library, walking distance from my office. Never, until recently. Oh, finally the joy!

 

First, the doors: easy to reach and wide open during library hours, inviting masses of Angelenos and tourists who pour past and inside. Even on the hottest summer days, cool air waves from the doors welcoming wrinkled, sweaty pedestrians as we walk by. The building décor is colorful, ornate, elegant, and unpretentious, like a special friend’s home.

 

Inside, librarians nearby are helping when asked, responsive, thoughtful, and generous with guidance. Two older gentlemen rest in large cushiony chairs, one reading, the other gently snoring; clusters of students and adults ranging in age fill nooks and work in teams at tables, all quietly abuzz with information. An embracing kindness, harmony, and intelligence seems to spill out from the rows of books squeezed side by side on the shelves.

 

It's so easy to love libraries. We’ve had the pleasure and honor to partner with library staff across the U.S. for almost half a century. And when our updated textbook was finally published in 2015, we packed  pure gratitude along with the books when we boxed them for the California State Library—the very first order. Year in, year out, reliable as gravity and sometimes just as taken for granted, librarians deliver immeasurable gifts to us all. Dearest librarians, Happy Valentine’s Day! We’ll love you forever!