For ages now I have enjoyed a newsletter from this dynamo
Today she sent this to my mailbox and it resonates deeply.
So I will share the particular clip that enviously articulates much of what I think . . . Oooo enjoy
In a sentiment reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin’s electrifying case for how imaginative storytelling expands our scope of the possible, Gaiman points to a third essential function of fiction in human life — its ability to introduce us to different versions of the world by envisioning alternate possibilities for the way things are:
Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. And discontent is a good thing: people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different, if they’re discontented.
But perhaps the surest way to foil a budding love of reading is to cut off access to books altogether, and there is no greater hedge against that hazard than the library — that sacred place Thoreau once extolled as a glorious “wilderness of books.” (“When a library is open, no matter its size or shape,” Bill Moyers wrote in his foreword to a recentphotographic love letter to libraries, “democracy is open, too.”) Gaiman recounts the formative role of the library in his own life:
I was lucky. I had an excellent local library growing up. I had the kind of parents who could be persuaded to drop me off in the library on their way to work in my summer holidays, and the kind of librarians who did not mind a small, unaccompanied boy heading back into the children’s library every morning and working his way through the card catalogue, looking for books with ghosts or magic or rockets in them, looking for vampires or detectives or witches or wonders. And when I had finished reading the children’s library I began on the adult books.
Gaiman was fortunate that the librarians tasked with nurturing his love of reading were the kind who inspire poems and not the kind who tried to bar pioneering astronaut Ronald McNair from his childhood library. With an affectionate eye to the librarians of his youth, Gaiman reflects:
They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked the books being read. They taught me how to order books from other libraries on interlibrary loans. They had no snobbery about anything I read. They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and they would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books in a series, they would help. They treated me as another reader — nothing less, nothing more — which meant they treated me with respect. I was not used to being treated with respect as an eight-year-old.Libraries are about Freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.