One of the greatest tragedies of my childhood was not having access to a public library. I grew up in a rural area in south-central Illinois. The closest town, which boasted a population of around 350 people, didn’t have a library. The closest public library was about a twenty to twenty-five minute drive. Since we didn’t live in town, we weren’t entitled to a free library card. My parents didn’t think the library membership was worth the $50 a year considering how little we would get to made the trip.
My parents always made sure we had books to read. We had a full set of encyclopedias. I’ve been told my father used to read to me from the encyclopedia when I was a baby. As I grew older, whenever I would ask my dad a question about the world, he would say, “Let’s look it up.” He would make me figure out for myself which book would have the answer I was looking for, and then he would make me find the correct entry so I would learn how to find answers on my own. Then we would read it together and talk about it. My dad taught me to look for answers and think for myself. Continue reading “These are the libraries of my life”