When I was a child, we had one book in the house and that was the Bible; this wasn’t because we were any more devout than the next Catholic, Chicano family, but because it was given to us for free. My young mother knew that education was the key to my success in the future. She didn’t have the means to provide much support at home, so my access to books during my developing years came from the San Benito County Free Library.
On my mom’s only day off, she and I would pack a bag and walk from our neighborhood on the west side of Hollister all the way to the library, passing the high school, the Schneider’s raised garden (yes, I remember they were growing cabbages those years), beyond the old Health Foundation, and I knew we were getting close when we came upon the bird cage house. We’d arrive at the library and I’d be let loose to browse my favorites: books on tape, VHS stories, and Dr. Seuss. We’d pack our bag and walk home.
I don’t know if our community understands the sacredness of books and the social implications that come with free access, but I know that the library was a shining point in my childhood, and although I didn’t know how absolutely poor we were, I did know that we didn’t have money for a scoop of ice cream at Wapple’s pharmacy, and certainly didn’t have the money for the books sold their either.
In today’s world, it’s easy to forget that there are people who depend on the library as their sole source of materials and access to computers. Of course there are the library frequenters who use it out of their dedication to public services, and support of programming, but I feel that the library is most important to those whose voices you don’t get to hear, and whose stories you don’t read in your newsfeeds.
This is why I’ve become a member of the Friends of the Library, the nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the library. This Sunday, March 19 from 1-3:30 p.m. is their annual fundraiser: Champagne Tea & Treasures. Tickets are on sale now. You can call 831-205-1373 or message them through their Facebook page or send them an email through their website: www.sbcfriends.org.
Please join me in helping to keep the library growing strong.
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