I recently came across Unshelved, a fun library-themed web comic (thank you, Librarilly Blonde). This strip struck a chord. I've always thought the fact And Tango Makes Three was on the "banned" list was sad. It's an adorable, wonderfully illstrated picture book based on the true story of two adult male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who take in a parentless baby penguin. It's come under controversy in school districts across the country for supporting same-sex relationships and adoption, and rose to #1 on the American Library Association's list of most-challenged books. I think picture books about animals provide a great, fun way to teach children about ideas and situations they'll encounter in the real world. Unfortunately, much of America seems not to agree.
A group of library lovers is campaigning for a book-themed Ben & Jerry's flavor. My favorite suggestion: "Gooey Decimal System." Though one must not ignore "Marian the Librarian Rasberryan"...
While I enjoy this fun idea, it unfortunately comes at a time when many local libraries aren't getting the funding and attention they deserve. I cannot say enough about the importance of public libraries, both for opening minds and offering free reference and recreational reading materials to all. They offer computer training and book clubs, author talks and discussions. They're one of the few municipal offices to truly embrace technology.
If the recession isn't reason enough to start visiting one's local library, I don't know what is. Most libraries are part of larger library systems, which allow visitors to order books, movies, and CDs from a huge collection. iTunes and NetFlix are great for songs and movies you must have immediately, but what about that CD you've always been meaning to listen to, or the television series you're catching up on? Every once in awhile, I go into my online library system and type in 20 things I want to watch or listen to. Every few days, I get an email saying one of my choices has been delivered to my local branch, and I go pick it up.
As far as books... as much as I support the bookstore industry, and realize that library nuts don't do much to support sales, I think it's even more important that everyone support the proliferation of reading in any form. Support your local library!
Allison graduated from Boston University in January 2009, with a B.S. in Print Journalism and a minor in Statistics. She is currently an editorial assistant at a prominent children's book publisher in NYC.