Sunday, June 21, 2009

“Libraries raised me."

Famed Author Ray Bradbury Fights for His Neighborhood Library!

“Libraries raised me,” Mr. Bradbury said. “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”

Public and school libraries across the country are suffering hugely in these dire economic times. The irony is that in tough economic times free public libraries and library services are needed more than ever providing essential tools and information, as well as computer and Internet access, for the unemployed and struggling families. Libraries also provide a vast array of books and media that offer constructive escapes from what can seem like overwhelming pressures.

I can readily identify with Mr. Bradbury's strong allegiance to public libraries for in my young life my school and neighborhood library were my safe havens, not my home. It was at the public library that I found books that taught me how to cook, how to sew, how to take care of a house, and how to take care of children, adult tasks that I had to take on at a much too early age. Now, more than ever, we adults need to make sure that all of our children, especially young people challenged by poverty, challenged by family circumstances or health issues-- all children in need ---have a safe haven in their communities and schools were they can find stories and heroes that encourage them to hope and dream and give them the information and tools they need to achieve their dreams. Those safe havens are their school and public libraries.

The NCBLA urges all caring adults to find out the status and health of your community's school and public libraries. Fight for these remarkable community assets to be level-funded on a town, county, state, and federal level. Write an old fashioned letter, call, fax, and email your local, state, and national officials and let them know your feelings. Fight to keep trained library professionals in your school and neighborhood libraries. Work with Friends of Library Associations to ensure that this generation of young Americans has access to one of America's greatest gifts to world culture, something we adults have come to take for granted--- a free neighborhood public library!----Mary Brigid Barrett, President, The National Children's Book and Literacy Aliance

To read more about Ray Bradbury's committment to libraries, go to:

To find out more about what you can do to support literacy and your neighborhood library, go to:

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