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Child of the Library: Sing out and share!

Piers Cawley (programmer, photographer, singer, cook, geek) presented this moving protest song about the importance of reading and libraries in childhood at the OSCON 2011 conference back in July. He wrote it back in February when he discovered his own public library was under threat of closure and had only a few months left.

When I discovered it this morning, it flooded me with memories and it brought me to tears and it made me smile.  He asks us to share it widely. Please spread this song as far and as wide as you can, and use it as much as you can in the fight to keep your local libraries open, because believe me, they’ll come for them.

And I’ll bet when we share it, when we use it as a rallying tool, everyone will be inspired to join the chorus! (Love those open sourcers, but they seemed a little reluctant for my taste.)

Child of the Library

I’m a Child of the Lib’ry, it made me who I am,
It taught me about freedom and the fellowship of Man
A sea of story waits for you inside the lib’ry door,
Don’t say we can’t afford it any more.

The Lib’ry’s where I made some friends I’ve known my whole life through
The Walkers and the Blacketts and the Pevensies so true.
Simp the canine cannonball, Galadriel the fair.
The daughter of a pirate king and Paddington the Bear

I’ve travelled South with Shackleton and all his gallant crew
And thorough the African interior that Mary Kingsley knew
I rode the trackless prairie where bison used to roam
I’ve flown around the universe, not half an hour from home.

And as I grew the Lib’ry fed my curiosity,
All there for the asking, and all of it for free.
It’s there I found the stories I couldn’t find at home.
It’s where I learned I was myself and not my father’s clone.

So make friends with your library, don’t let it fade away.
Teach your kids the lib’ry’s where you go on Saturday.
Don’t let the bastards tell you they will cost too much to save
While they’re shoveling your taxes down the hole the bankers made

Last Chorus:
So make a stand for the lib’ry. Stand up while you can.
Stand up for your freedom. Stand for your fellow man.
Ignorance is never bliss, don’t close the lib’ry door.
For the lib’ry lost is lost forever more.

Lyrics © 2011 Piers and Gill Cawley
Music © 2011 Piers Cawley

Creative Commons BY-NC-SA License.

Piers includes a key to the lyrics here.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve retweeted and shared with my state library association in New Mexico!

  2. Reminds of the school library where I spent most of 5th and 6th grade (not that I was supposed to).

  3. Wow, thank you…. so inspiring … i’ve emailed this link to all my friends. Terrific way to bring back the library 🙂

  4. Those open sourcers were joining in, and from quite early on too. It’s just that the mic I was holding wasn’t picking that up all too well.

  5. Sorry, Piers! I wish I could have heard them. But, please consider singing at a library conference too. I’ll bet we’ll blow you away with our chorus. On second thought, we need you more at those education confs.

    THANK YOU for your advocacy, you are also a friend of the library. Big hugs!

  6. I would be happy to, but there’s this ocean and annoying things like jobs that make travelling somewhere to sing a song for five minutes is a wee bit tricky.

  7. I thought it was a fairly ridiculous song, but as usual, librarians are suckers for anything that says how great we are.

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