Keep hold of instruction, do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. (Proverbs 4:13)
Because my mother was a librarian, I spent many happy childhood hours roaming about in libraries waiting on her to get off work. I have always felt at home in libraries. I cherish the help I get from librarians. I glean ideas for magazine articles from browsing the periodical room. I find great books to read. The audio books I check out keep me sane while negotiating the heavy Houston traffic. I take refuge in libraries if I need a quiet place to retreat for a while.
Now I have another reason to love libraries. My local Houston Public Library offers free computer classes where I am gradually getting my computer skills up to speed. At one of those classes I discovered that my library card gives me access to more on-line courses than I could complete in three lifetimes. By merely typing in my library card number and a password I am ushered into the realm of courses about petty much anything and everything.
This is all like a miracle to me. I can sit with my laptop at home and access “how to” instructions on anything I can think up to learn about. I love libraries. I admire how libraries keep adapting to changes in society and how they do so much to add to the quality of life.
Libraries improve the quality of life in communities all over the world. As I’m writing this blog my pastor friend Brad Otto is on another trip to Ethiopia where he is helping to dedicate a library his organization, Acts of Wisdom, built in a very remote rural community there. People there now have a way to learn and expand their opportunities. Throughout history libraries have provided education and entertainment for their communities.
Archeologists who teach us about our past and have found evidence libraries existed in many parts of the ancient world. The oldest collections were on clay tablets that date back to the 3000 BC era. Some of these indicate our ancient ancestors had access to collections of theological discussions, legends, and other historical records, according to an article posted by Zen College Life. Later collections were on papyrus scrolls. (http://www.zencollegelife.com/the-history-of-libraries-through-the-ages)
The same article notes that ancient Nineveh, known to many moderns as the city the Old Testament prophet Jonah did not want to visit, perhaps had the earliest system for organizing their libraries, as early as 700 BC.
After papyrus scrolls we advanced to printed books. Now we also have electronic and audio books. The ways in which we humans record and share our thoughts and data keeps evolving. Wherever and however we share ideas, libraries are an integral part of keeping us informed.
I think I’ll head over to the library and see what I find of interest there.