Evelyn C. McDonald
Arts & Culture Reporter
I was leaving the library one afternoon recently. As I reached the corner of the building, a mother and her son were coming across 4th St. He looked to be 5 or 6. He was yelling “li-bary, li-bary, li-bary” as he ran. His mother said, “I guess someone’s excited.” We both laughed.
I thought about that child a lot. He was clearly eager to get to the li-bary. Maybe he was going to a reading group or maybe he was going to take out books. It’s great to see a child excited about exploring the world of books. In later years he may read digitally but somehow unless it’s conditioned out of him, I think he’ll like paper books. I’ve seen other children coming out of the library with an armload of books, grinning as though they’d won a prize.
These are the library’s youngest customers and it does a fine job fulfilling their expectations. The books are many and varied; the library has a great space just for children. The City of Fernandina Beach, Nassau County, and the Friends of the Library have fostered a project that really shines in our city. The library is clean, well-lighted and a great space to browse or read. The community room with its revolving art collection is a valuable asset to our community.
Here’s a quotation about libraries that you may enjoy and the author will surprise you. Read on to the end of this piece and I’ll tell you who said it.
“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. The public library is a great equalizer.”
I’ll give you another quotation that I heard at a meeting a couple of years ago. I’m on the Dean’s Council for the Carpenter Library at UNF. At one of our meetings we were each talking about what libraries had meant to us. The speaker said he had grown up in Appalachia and in poverty. But, he said, there was a bookmobile that came around to the area where he lived. “We were dirt poor,’ he said, “but when I started to read, I knew I could get out.”
Be supportive of our library and be grateful that the county, city and library lovers cared enough to make it a great place.
And the author of the quotation above was Keith Richards, English guitarist, songwriter, and member of the Rolling Stones. Richards has a large library in his home and travels around the world with books.