This is ALA National Library Week and today is National Library Worker Appreciation Day. I owe a special debt of gratitude to the Curtis Memorial Library’s children’s librarians. It all started about 14 years ago when we moved to Brunswick, Maine. Then, the library was small and cozy and the children’s section was headed by the spirited Phyllis Fuchs. Phyllis was pleased as punch when I said that I’d like to volunteer. She let me join her as she read picture books to toddlers both in the library and those watching community cable at home. When I had my own children, Phyllis was there every week at Finger Fun for Babies. Thank goodness for those weekly sessions where I could speak with other adults and beat the isolation of early mothering.
The newly renovated Curtis Memorial Library opened and Phyllis decided to retire, but a group of amazing librarians took her place. Pam, Robin, and Melissa in particular have been especially helpful on my journey to become an author/illustrator. They are quick to jump on-line on my behalf when I ask, "Have you got a list of books that use the This is the House that Jack Built, construction," or "I’m looking for ballet books for boys," or "What do you love that’s new?," or "Which of these books do 5th grade boys really love?" The always know where to find the answers.
Moreover, they know me. They know my kids. They often know about my work in progress, or research and will save things on my behalf. They know how long this journey has been, how hard I work, (or don’t- I loved the day that I walked in to get a book and Melissa, after reading my Facebook update said, "Aren’t you supposed to be working on your illustrations?") Some people long for a place where everybody knows your name. For me, that place is my community library.
I hope that the next time you elect your community officials you’ll communicate to them how important the library is for your community. Perhaps when you hear that your taxes are going up, you’ll consider the library collection, physical requirements, and library workers who do so much to help so many by providing access to information through books, computers, and other media. Perhaps you’ll think about the women I listed above, about how as women, last year they earned 77% of men’s median earnings, the same as the wage gap in 2002. Perhaps you’ll agree that when we all chip in, our communities prosper economically, and educationally.
To Melissa, and Pam, and Robin, I hope you enjoy the flowers I sent. It was a small symbol of my endless appreciation for all you do.
For more information on how you can help save libraries go here.
For more about ALA National Libary Week go here.
For more about National Library Worker Appreciation Week and info on pay equity go here.
For links to other authors and their essays and lists about loving libraries go here.