LIBRARIES are the centers of acquiring knowledge and wisdom. They serve our human databanks well, our brains. In this era of corporate and technological influence, we don’t see libraries - or for that sense - reading as highly paramount in our lives. It’s no surprise to learn the wealthy see libraries as a threat, championing closures across the country. This link dated this January, unravels the struggles these places of learning face under assault from affluent entities and a lack of funds to maintain services.
Most of you readers know my story. I grew up in a library in South Los Angeles reading plays, Peanuts from Charles Shultz, and books I found interesting and engaging. I believe if it wasn’t for a library, I would not be a writer today. It was in a library I began writing my short stories, poems and other creative works I indulged in. It’s also not a surprise to read a legend such as Ray Bradbury promote the positives of a library. For example, this is a quote from Mr. Bradbury on the importance of such an institution:
Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.
It’s understandable why the Powers That Be aren’t too fond of libraries. As they long as they exist, an individual can do research of the claims made daily of what Propagandist Media uses for ‘proof’. A trip to the library disproves those claims. (Hint: the Propagandist Media isn’t just CNN. It’s ‘foxy’ to assume they’re the only one) A trip to the library will as I’ve often advocated in the past, opens up your mental heart to new experiences, different lives and stories often kept silent. A library doesnât turn you into one of the arrogant ‘elite’, it provides you with knowledge and hopefully wisdom to show this world is more than your city block.
With thirty two million adults in America who are illiterate, seven hundred seventy four (774) globally, more than ever libraries are not only necessary, they should be mandatory to stay alive, visible for everyone to access and build a foundation for literacy. As I look around Los Angeles and see the changes taking place at Playa Vista, aka ‘Silicon Beach’, tech is becoming a major force in shaping the world we live in (for now), and it takes an educated work force to compete globally as well as nationally. Enrolling in a college or university can be expensive, but our public libraries are always free and patrons can get the training they need by glancing at a book. Hopefully readers of this blog will take this advice and take the time to enter a library this week or sometime when your schedule allows.
Finally, not only have I spent my adolescent years in a library, I’ve also taught writers workshops in them too. (Looking at you African American Museum and Library at Oakland/AC Bilbrew in Los Angeles). Call me biased, but the author of this column encourages you all to check out a book in a library, sign up for a library card, tell your friends, and hold your book clubs there. Libraries are an important part in obtaining optimal knowledge from a variety of different sources including the sources we prefer not to research in our extreme political climate today. I would wager reading a book does not brainwash you, but it will do wonders for your brain.
Charles L. Chatmon
President, Chatmon’s Books