I stole this one

My son is studying to be a librarian and I took this from a link on his facebook page. It’s a very long article, but a good one. It was this part that spoke to me though. The wonder of reading a book. The creativity that happens no only in the writer, but that is sparked in the reader.

You see, a good book gets us on both ends. A great idea, well expressed on the page can change the world. The link to the whole article is at the bottom of the page.

Leave the libraries alone. You don’t understand their value.

Best-selling author Philip Pullman spoke to a packed meeting on 20 January 2011, called to defend Oxfordshire libraries. He gave this inspirational speech, which we are very pleased to co-publish with openDemocracy.

I still remember the first library ticket I ever had. It must have been about 1957. My mother took me to the public library just off Battersea Park Road and enrolled me. I was thrilled. All those books, and I was allowed to borrow whichever I wanted! And I remember some of the first books I borrowed and fell in love with: the Moomin books by Tove Jansson; a French novel for children called A Hundred Million Francs; why did I like that? Why did I read it over and over again, and borrow it many times? I don’t know. But what a gift to give a child, this chance to discover that you can love a book and the characters in it, you can become their friend and share their adventures in your own imagination.


And the secrecy of it! The blessed privacy! No-one else can get in the way, no-one else can invade it, no-one else even knows what’s going on in that wonderful space that opens up between the reader and the book. That open democratic space full of thrills, full of excitement and fear, full of astonishment, where your own emotions and ideas are given back to you clarified, magnified, purified, valued. You’re a citizen of that great democratic space that opens up between you and the book. And the body that gave it to you is the public library. Can I possibly convey the magnitude of that gift?


4 thoughts on “I stole this one

  1. One small correction: Jesse isn’t studying to be a librarian, he already is one (MS in Library and Information Science), he just isn’t currently getting paid to work as one.

  2. Though I find Phillip Pullman’s comments on education interesting, keep in mind he is one of the New Atheists. His book series, The Golden Compass–made into a movie–was written to counter C.S. Lewis’s popular Narnia series.

    • While I may completely disagree with his stand on God, he still proclaims the amazing character of God in his creativity. I must give honor where honor is due and pray, like C.S. Lewis, his searching eventually take him to the throne of his Father.

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