By Arthur H. Gunther III
This is National Library Week, an annually booked observance that is seemingly unnecessary for readers since every week, even every day, celebrates the great adventure of not only running eyes over words but going to the places where they rest on shelves for the next visit to someone’s lap.
Reading is fundamental, as the old ads noted in encouragement against ignorance and for success, and it is also a trip. Every short story, novel, essay, non -fictional piece has its rhythm, taking readers down lanes, up hills, into valleys, turning right, left, stopping at intersections, braking, accelerating. From your comfortable chair, or just sitting on edge on a wall, you get to “hear” the music of the individual writer. You will love, like some authors; others not. But you will be forever changed even in some small way by the read, by the acquaintance you have made with the writer.
Yes, you buy books in stores big and small, from Barnes & Noble to the great marvel of Jack Dunnigan’s Pickwick Book Store in Nyack, N.Y., its jammed shelves beckoning like a bakery full of cookies and pastries for a child. Celebrate these places. Buy from them.
But also visit, often, the library down Broadway in your community and be welcomed by tomes great and small, tended to with the understanding that only librarians can give, as mothers and fathers to these books, displaying them with paternal pride, keeping them safe, allowing them to visit their friends – readers – but eager for all these words to return, tucked in again on mahogany shelves.
National Library Week – the birthday celebration reminding us of all the journeys words can take us on, available for free booking anytime.
The writer is a retired newspaperman.