By Stephanie W.
I grew up in a remote northern Ontario town, where the public library was, at first, too far away to visit. But a bookmobile came around every 3 weeks, and we were allowed to check out 2 books at a time. I had learned to read early, and always finished my 2 books within days, which left me waiting, eagerly, for return visits. Then when I was 8, a tiny branch library opened in a local strip mall, and my life changed. I virtually lived there, and devoured first the children’s section, and then, with my parents’ signed permission, the adult section. I read everything from Encyclopedia Brown to the Encyclopedia of Human Biology. My parents stressed the importance of education and reading, but were anything but wealthy, and could never have afforded to buy me everything – or much of – what I devoured. I directly credit libraries for the fact that I never thought that lack of money meant that I would be shut out of the joys of education, reading, or knowledge.