Heavy wooden doors open to endless adventure. Dark gold carpet lines the floors between the shelves of hardback tomes. Polished mahogany tables wait dimly illuminated by green glass desk lamps. Murmurs of hushed conversations whisper by. My heart is beating with excitement. I’m in a place of sheer magic.
It’s summer time, 1979, and I’ve walked down the street to the Carnegie Public Library to look for the latest Nancy Drew mystery and turn in the five books I checked out just yesterday. My goal is to fill all 100 squares on my summer reading club with stickers (but really I am there for the books).
My love of writing grew from a love of reading. The printed word is very addictive, and I am happily a life-long book addict. I blame Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919).
The star of his own true rags to riches story, Carnegie used his hard-earned fortune to build public libraries (3,000 of them, in fact) and push for fee free usage for all (amongst many other philanthropic endeavors). His goal was to bring education and literacy to the masses. In his own words:
“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” - Andrew Carnegie
Maybe this is why I dream not of seeing my book(s) on the fabled New York Times Best Seller List (although I certainly wouldn’t complain) but on the shelf of my neighborhood library. That is my goal.