Library Lovers United!

Earlier tonight, library lovers united and gathered at the Old Church to learn more about Multnomah County Library’s plans to ensure it remains the wonderful institution we have all come to love. The first step is to generate support and awareness of the upcoming measure 26-215 on the May 2012 ballot- that people vote yes to renew the library levy. And this was a great way to bring attention to it.

Friends of the Multnomah County Library
Craig Cedros made some opening remarks before handing the stage to five wonderful, local, and passionate authors.

Ursula Le Guin started things off with a serious yet entertaining speech. The part that stood out the most for me was when she talked about all the things we lose when we shut the doors of a library- “true wealth, true freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Phillip Margolin shared how the library helped him through the years, through his many interests in life- for entertainment, enrichment, and as a character in one of his books.

Jean Auel told a funny story about forgetting to pick up her son because she was at the library.

Molly Gloss was probably my favorite of the speakers. The things she said resonated with me- how she grew up as a reader and how the library was part of her life. As a student, it was her basic resource. As a housewife, it was her access to lifelong learning. As a writer, it made it possible for her to find out any information. She even worked at Central as a coat check girl! But, the most impressive moment was when she took out a well worn pamphlet she got from the library many years ago- of books to read if you wanted to consider yourself well read. She’s definitely made her way through the list!

Kim Stafford mentioned how during one of their Friends of William Stafford meetings at Central a homeless man walked into the room. They had thought he was just there for the cookies but he surprised them all by reciting some lines from “Ask Me.” This was a perfect example of how the libraries aren’t just full of characters from the books on the shelves but from all the people who walk through their doors.

Then, Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen gave a rousing speech about the importance of supporting this campaign and getting involved.

After hearing all the speakers and seeing the pews filled with people who support the library, I thought to myself: How can I not do everything I can to make sure the library I love stays open?

I’d like to leave off with a quote Molly Gloss shared from G. K. Chesterton: The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.

Edited March 16th:

Libraries Yes has posted a video of this event on their site. They’ve also put up pictures, as well. Thanks to Andie Petkus Photography for sharing her talent!

Edited April 5th:
Friends of the Multnomah County Library have posted the author videos. My write-ups didn’t do them justice so I’m glad everyone can now watch them! Thanks to Trish Bowcock for sharing her talent!

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