Treasures on the shelves — Take advantage of your library

Published 12:16 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” — Mark Twain.

I have three children who I consider to be fairly intelligent, though I may be a bit biased. Over the years, I have watched many episodes of the gameshow Jeopardy with my two sons. If you are not familiar with this game, it consists of multiple questions from various categories. The answers are often obscure. I am pretty good at this game. In fact, some of the answers that I happen to get correct seem to come from unknown realms of the universe or, as my children put it, out of certain parts of my body. My wife simply claims that I am a walking vault of mostly useless information. When asked how I know these things, my stock answer is, “I read books.”

I have always been an avid reader. My daughter follows in those footsteps but the boys — not so much.  It is not that they can’t read. They just choose not to. My point is this, people who choose to read are opening their minds to vast amount of information of all kinds. It is limitless. This is not to say that reading is the only way to expand your mind. But reading is a great avenue for this. It is also a privilege.

We live in a world where the rights of individuals are often stomped upon or even stripped away. We live in a world where, in some places, the powers that be feel that they can tell you what you are allowed to think, see or even read. Bibles are banned in many countries. Books are periodically removed from the shelves of school libraries. Lawmakers in one of the Intermountain states of our country have introduced legislation that could potentially result in fines and even jailtime for librarians that check out certain materials to minors.

On a personal level, I do understand and agree with the desire and need to protect what our children are exposed to. Be that as it may, we do live in a time where reading is a privilege. It is something that we need to take advantage of and, as a library, to encourage.

Therefore, I invite all of you to make use of your local library. It is an important and vital part of your community. Take advantage of what we have to offer. As Mark Twain said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” But then, he also said, “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

Be good!

J.B. Crenshaw is the library director for Lunenburg County Public Library System. He can be reached at jbcrenshaw.lcpls@gmail.com.