Archives for posts with tag: libraries

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When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you.” KEITH RICHARDS 

Happy Dec. 18th birthday to Keith Richards — a bibliophile whose his first career choice was to become a librarian, according to his his memoir Life (2011), available at Amazon.com.

Photo: Keith Richards relaxing in his home library.

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“I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.”

        RAY BRADBURY, novelist, screenwriter, and short story writer (1920-2012)

Photo: Ray Bradbury at the Palms-Rancho Park Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, located at 2920 Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90064. In the photo, he is wearing the medal he received in 2007 from the France Minister of Culture as Commandeur, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Photo by Gary.

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“Public libraries have been a mainstay of my life. They represent an individual’s right to acquire knowledge; they are the sinews that bind civilized societies the world over. Without libraries, I would be a pauper, intellectually and spiritually.”

          JAMES A. MICHENER (1907-1997), Pulitzer Prize winning author of Tales of the South Pacific (basis of the Rogers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific). A prolific author of fiction of nonfiction, Michener worked up to the time of his death at age 90.

Photo: James A. Michener at work in his home office.

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“When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you.” KEITH RICHARDS 

Many of you have heard the story of how Keith Richards was injured a few years ago when he reached for a book about Leonardo da Vinci in his home library and the bookcase fell on him. What many people don’t know is that Richards is a bibliophile and his first career choice was to become a librarian — according to his his memoir Life (2011), available at Amazon.com.

Full Disclosure: I am a dedicated Rolling Stones fan…

Photo: Keith Richards relaxing in his home library  (they’re his books, so it’s his business if he smokes).

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“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people — people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.” E.B. WHITE, author of Charlotte’s Web

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As a result of a recent research project, I opened a library account in the Glendale/Pasadena, California, System. I was surprised that L.A. residents could gain access to materials from outlying libraries without paying a fee – so took advantage of Glendale’s policy of not charging for inter-library loans (I needed to borrow a volume of poetry from a university library).

While returning the book yesterday, I noticed an extensive section of DVDs. Since I don’t get to Glendale on a regular basis, I at first thought it would be impractical to borrow DVDs (which in most libraries need to be returned within two days – with a three DVD limit). On impulse, I asked the library assistant how many DVDs I could take out and how for how long I could borrow them. I thought I was hearing things incorrectly – or the person hadn’t heard my question, so I asked for the information a couple of times until I believed it.

The Glendale/Pasadena library system allows you to take out 12 DVDs (yes, a full dozen) and keep them for 7 days! The library had hundreds of DVDs on the shelves, but if patrons have up to 12 at home, I wonder how many DVDs  are in the collection.  I also learned that the library allows you to borrow up to 100 books at any given time!

All this is by way of saying thank you to the Glendale/Pasadena Library System!

I must also take a moment to thank the Los Angeles Public Library and its fine workers for all of their help and courtesy related to my high volume borrowing – and for sending my requested books from library to library for pick up. As someone who makes a living through research and ghostwriting (and certainly not publishing), I am often at my limit of 30 books borrowed. To all LAPL workers, I am in your debt. You are wonderful! My deepest appreciation!

In fact, thank you to all the libraries of the world!

As Ray Bradbury said, “Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.”

In a New York Times article from June 19, 2009 (“A Literary Legend Fights for a Local Library”),  Bradbury (1920-2012) stated:  “Libraries raised me. 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.”

We miss you, Ray — and we heart you, too!

Illustration: “I Heart Libraries” button from the good folks at Zazzle.com.