“The words you say mean nothing, the way you saw them means everything.” –Eileen Parra
Back in high school I was somewhat of a nerd. I studied a lot, spent way too much time creating elaborate class projects, and read a lot. In fact, I read so much that in my senior year book there is a picture of me, book in hand, with the caption “biggest bookworm.” I’m not sure if it was meant to be a compliment or not, but I read it as “best, coolest, most awesome kid in the school.” Compliment accepted.
Unfortunately I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. Having a rambunctious 1-year-old will do that to you, but I do still utilize our local libraries as much as ever. It’s just instead of checking out sci-fi classics or chick-lit (nope not a book snob here), I’m now checking out Spot Goes to the Beach and the Very Hungry Caterpillar for the 100th time. Instead of browsing the DVD collection for a movie night, I’m singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider during baby story time. Ah, the life of a mom.
Libraries are great, but they are also vastly underappreciated by the majority of people. Where else in the world do you have free access to unlimited amounts of information? Want to learn how to garden? There’s a book for that! Want to learn about the migratory patterns of birds? There’s a book for that! Want to escape to a fantasy world of vampires or witches or flying cars? There’s a book for that! And if there’s not a book…well then there’s the internet. And it’s free too!
Walter Cronkite once said that “whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” This quote couldn’t be more applicable in my hometown where the libraries are just starting to bounce back from budget cuts that saw reduced hours and programming. I thought it would be a great random act of kindness to give back to a place that has the potential to benefit so many people, especially at a time when funding is always under scrutiny.
I went through my book collection and pulled out a couple dozen books. My sister then agreed to donate a few of her books left over from her pre-teen days to help diversify out collection. Thanks Erin! That made a grand total of 30 books! Going through these old books was a lot like flipping through a photo album, each one conjuring an old memory. Like the Painted Veil, which was given to me to read during a three month backpacking trip out west. Or Culture Shock: Spain, the book my worried mom gave to me before I spent a summer studying in Alicante.
Then there’s this book, which is only getting donated because I happen to have two copies. I left a small message in the front cover for whomever may check it out. It reads: “Hello fellow Xenite! If you’re reading this book it looks like we have something in common. Should you care to share your obsession with another person, please e-mail me at DanaPod@gmail.com and we can set up a Xena marathon. Sincerely, a fan.”