Happy National Library Week!
Libraries have always played an important role in my life. I've told the story before about how my older sister would take me to the old library in downtown Omaha every Saturday morning and I would leave there with my arms full of books. This ignited a love of reading that still burns strong today.
In high school I used the public libraries to study and to peruse through periodicals to find quotes that would help me win debate tournamenets.
I always knew that I'd be visiting libraries for the rest of my life, but I had no idea that I'd be performing in several dozen libraries each summer. That was a very happy surprise.
Libraries have changed a lot over the years and I think that librarians have too. When I was a kid, I have to admit that I sort of feared the librarian. Please remember that I grew up in an era where if you spoke too loudly in a library, you got shushed. The librarian sat behind a huge fortress-like desk and whenever I went to check out books, there was a fear in my heart that she may not deem me worthy of checking out books and deny my request. In the library, SHE WAS THE LAW!
The library itself was pretty intimidating, too. Big. Cavernous. Echo-y. And quiet. The quiet is what I remember the most.
It's not really that way today, is it? Today librarians read to kids and encourage them to check out books. Libraries aren't overly quiet anymore (especially during one of my shows). It's changed for the better.
And I see librarians in a whole different light, too. I've come to know that librarians are unsung heroes. They encourage reading and learning. They work hard at what they do and most of all, they love what they do. Almost without exception, every librarian I've met has had a passion for his or her job.
So again, Happy National Library Week. And thank you to all of the people who make libraries so special.