This guy I once dated said libraries were for poor people. I should have broken up with him then, but fear of loneliness can make one quite stupid. If only I had gone then to the library and taken out books on self-esteem....
The library was where Florence took us instead of synagogue or church. It was as cherished as Town Hall or Carnegie. It was as sacred as the Met Museum. It was as intimate as home.
The library was a haven from chaos and a secret passageway to knowing stuff stupid people didn't want us to know. I learned about where babies came from and where Nazis went to (not on the same day, though). I listened to music I had to hear but couldn't afford. And each time I took out a book, I felt like it was Christmas, Chanukah and my birthday all rolled up in one. I still feel that way.
These days trundling down to my neighborhood library or the one uptown, I see the 95 year old former Rocket still doing high kicks to the check-out guys and then scooping up her weekly stash of books.
I see tons of babies and little kids bursting like fireworks because they are headed into story-hour.
I see people who can't afford laptops have access to the world.
I see the elderly have company and a place to go to read the day's paper.
And when I can't bear another wall to my own words, I see a quiet, safe space where I can keep writing.
I see my city, my life and my home.
The library has made sure democracy is for all of us, not just those who can afford an education, a laptop, or literacy. And yet, a proposed $43 million budget cut is being introduced that would decimate what is already a beleaguered institution.
Click here and fight back. Fight back against stupidity and short-sightedness. Click here and fight for a world where, no matter how much you have in your pocket, you are entitled to knowledge.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.