Have you ever seen a dying library?Over Spring Break I had the chance to visit one, and it was one of the saddest things I've ever seen.
In a little town in rural Alaska there is a library that is just that, dying. It started out huge, thirty years ago. It took up a giant two story room and was the center piece of its school. It had a full time librarian, dozens of patrons, and all the newest books. Then its town started to shrink. The kids that used to visit it grew up, graduated, and moved on. There weren't as many kids the next year or the year after that. They couldn't afford to pay the librarian and it became an eyesore, "a waste of space," so they threw out half the books and moved it from its grand room to a double classroom at the back of the building.
Locked away at the end of a dark hallway it set, manned by a staff of volunteers for a decade, until even they couldn't hold on any longer. Then one day a senior needed to get some volunteer hours, so she got a key, opened the door, and hung up her shingle. For one year the library was alive again. Then, in 2006 she graduated, and for the next six years all but one elementary teacher forgot it was even there, with its shelves of two decade old books.
Then the girl went back home, started working at the school she used to attend, and went back to that library, now with only one classroom to its name. Then one day she took a group of students down to the end of the hall, unlocked the door, and they got to work.
That was last month, and this month my friend sent me two pictures. One was of boxes of unused books that had lost all relevancy to their students, and the other was of shelves with only a few dozen books left on them.
Her e-mail read "now what?"
And that's my question to you.If someone gave you a library, several years of stock piled budget, and told you to fill it with books that would draw 12-18 year olds to it like moths to a flame what titles would you buy?