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What does the library mean to you?

During National Library Week last month, we asked the community to respond to the question, "What does the library mean to you?" We received a number of powerful responses.

Last month libraries around the country celebrated National Library Week.

As part of these festivities, The Public Library of Brookline participated in Library Snapshot Day, an opportunity to document moments that reveal libraries' importance to the communities they serve.

Please take a look at the photos from Library Snapshot Day on our Flickr stream.

Throughout the week we also took the opportunity to perform an informal survey. We prompted community members with the question, "What does the library mean to you?"

We received a number of powerful responses from patrons of all ages.

From Ricardo:

Moving to Boston for a new job last year, I found myself lonely and missing my San Francisco friends. But re-discovering the companionship of literature, which I held so dear as a lonely child, has helped me get through the winter's solitude. Thank you for the free access to books, audiobooks and e-books -- old friends made new again.

From Joan:

It means I can read all the latest books -- along with old favorites -- at no cost. A real blessing when you're retired and living on a fixed income.

From an anonymous patron:

A relaxing and inspiring and informative place for a mom with children.

From Sue:

It was my escape from a sometimes grim childhood in a home without any books at all. It was my haven during my travels and life abroad for a quarter of a century. It has always been a democratizing element of society, allowing even those of us with limited resources to enjoy any and every literary delight.

From Evgeniya:

The place where I can relax, where I feel clever, where my children like to spend time a lot and I'm happy with this.

From an anonymous patron:

A refuge from a bad day; a place to find the books, movies, and music I want and sometimes didn't know I wanted.

From Desiree:

The library is my access to what is currently beyond my reach -- it is my hope for the future.

From Kashmira:

It means lots of things -- a sense of belonging, community, a meeting of like-minded folks, a friendly face and smile when I need it.

From Ann:

An endless (and free) source of entertainment, education, amazement, escapism, provocation, amusement and wonder.

From an anonymous patron:

Wonderful collection, wonderful people, wonderful help, wonderful exhibits -- a big reason and a great reason to live in Brookline!

These responses serve as an important reminder that the library is much, much more than just a warehouse for books. The library is a refuge, a community gathering space, a laboratory for the imagination, and a lifeline to the world of information for those who lack the means to access that world on their own.

If you did not have a chance to share your thoughts on what the library means to you, please do so in the comments section below.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Grahame Turner May 09, 2012 at 12:46 AM
While I was interviewing the Library Trustee candidates, both said they got involved for similar reasons to those listed above. In her interview, Kristen Uekermann mentioned one woman who said she moved to Brookline because of the library: http://patch.com/A-sLhN Anyone else have stories or reasons they love the libraries?
Nicole Gsell May 10, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I absolutely love libraries. I remember as a kid being in the school library almost all the time. It became a safe haven, not only just a place for reading and learning, but for comfort. Literature gave me the skills I need to think critically and imaginatively. I am so glad to have revisited my library experience through the libraries of Brookline!

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