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Ray Bradbury and Library Talk

Science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, was featured in the NYT this weekend and his passion for "why libraries," made me stop, dead in my tracks. It dawned on me that with the economic recession – at full speed – parents will probably face some tough times paying for camps for their children. Libraries will be the refuge; at least that’s my guess – not shocking, I know. But this quote made me wonder if, thanks to the economy, we are now raising another generation of Ray Bradburys. “Libraries raised me,” Mr. Bradbury said. “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” (By Jennifer Steinhauer A Literary Legend Fights for a Local Library)


  1. George Edward Stanley says:

    I read that article, too, Amy, and it made me remember growing up in Memphis, Texas, in the late 40’s and early 50’s, when my refuge was the Memphis Carnegie Library – a beautiful old building with lots of character. I loved to sit between the shelves and “inhale the books.” I could sit there for hours and hours and dream. Actually, I did very well in high school and was relatively popular, but I much preferred to be in the library. During my first year of high school, my mother said, “Why don’t you think about getting an “after-school and on-Saturdays” job, so I did. I asked the librarian for one. She gave it to me. For pasting in the date due slips and the cardboard pockets for the library card, she paid me fifty cents a week (not very much money, even then). My mother just shook her head and said, “Well, that’s not exactly what I had in mind.” But that was all she said. Later, I did work at J.C. Penney’s and at a local drug store, but I always preferred my library job! Unfortunately, our two sons (who are grown now) never got to experience that. My wife and I bought them lots and lots of books, because we bought (and still buy) lots and lots of books. The idea of having to return a book after I’ve read it is just something my brain has never been able to handle!!

  2. George Edward Stanley says:

    (continued) But in the last few years, with library budgets being cut to the bone, I have started “returning” a lot of my books to different libraries in the area, both school and public. I have realized that, for some people, libraries are the ONLY places they can find books – and this has made it easy for my brain to handle. Sometimes I think that, in a way, we did our sons a disservice by not spending more time in the library. It’s such an unforgettable experience. I certainly have never forgotten it. So I think I’ll mention it to them so they can experience it with their children.

  3. Amy Bowllan says:

    What a great story, George! This summer, my children will be in the library. Camps are way overpriced and I think taking a page out of Ray’s and your “books”, might serve them well. :)

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.