The Jacksonville Public Library (A Vital Community)

PICTURE AracelyI have always been a regular of libraries, often running around in the children’s section when I was younger, and musing over poetry in nonfiction when I was of age. But it did not occur to me until I was older that libraries were an establishment that played a vital role in my own community.  Not only promoting literacy, but hosting community workshops which inspire and educate. In the children’s department, they put on an event, “Superheroes Read,” where kids dress up as superheroes and keep a list of the books they’ve read. Running around in capes, they come to associate reading with a positive memory. For teens, they host writing contests, where submitters write a story to a theme, and volunteer at the library to be considered eligible, thus fostering artistic creativity.

There are also valuable services for adults. In the main library, they hold classes for speakers of other languages to learn English, which give adjusting immigrants the opportunity to learn to communicate and be articulate in our society. All of these things in combination show that the library is a valuable resource for the people, as well as a place to check out an interesting book, and sit down leisurely to crack it open.

It hurts me to see cities and politicians not respect the roles libraries play. Indeed budgets to fund the libraries are tightening in an unmerciful fist. Where else would impoverished kids with homework, but no computer, go to type assignments? Where else would the homeless go to relax and read? Where else would free knowledge be made so readily available?

Whenever I go to the library, I browse bookshelves with new-found interest and stop when I see a book about healthy cooking, cultural revolutions, or classics. I take it off the shelf, and I read.

-Aracely Medina, Senior Poetry Editor