For the love of books and stuff

By Don Rush

“Son, there is never a reason you cannot improve yourself or achieve what you want as long as you can
read, because you can go to the library and learn,” my very own father said this to me more than once
when I was young and impressionable.
From that time on, I have always held libraries in a place of reverence.
I remember fondly of Mom taking me to the then Independence Township Library on Clarkston Road
(now the Clarkston Independence District Library). We would go to the library about once every couple
of weeks for Mom and Dad to pick up new books they had reserved and for us kids to find books that
interested us. The first books I checked out were Sherlock Holmes mysteries. When in college, I loved
spending as much time among the books, magazines and music selections as I could. I knew where to find the histories of the country and world, about science and pets.  I knew the Dewey Decimal System, baby!  I knew how to find periodicals and look up older articles on microfiche.
Over the course of years working at our community newspapers, I have had library cards in Clarkston,
Orion, Oxford, Brandon and up in Goodrich with the Genesee County District Library. At one time, I
think I had active cards from all those libraries stuffed in my wallet. Oh, those were good times. All that
knowledge. All those books. All those CDs and DVDs, computers and stuff.
Libraries really are magical places and despite what some may say, they are not antiquated institutions.
Libraries are places where communities can come together and connect. They are always evolving. I
reached out to some “Friends” of area libraries to see what they feel about libraries.
“Libraries empower communities by serving as a safe and peaceful space whereby its citizens may freely
and lawfully seek information, explore ideas, exercise free speech and engage with their community,” said Tom Roberts, president for the Brandon Township Friends of the Library. “Libraries, like the press, are essential for a healthy democracy.”
According to Lyn Klages, president for the Friends of Oxford Public Library, “The Friends organization is
in place to enhance the library’s capabilities . . . To me, personally, it provides adventures to the world.
The library can be and are many things to people.”
She said libraries can be “beautiful, safe havens where one can enjoy some solitude as well as noisy
laughter-filled spaces filled with children and play activities.”
All of the local libraries, from Addison Township to Goodrich and everywhere in between have their own
flavor and flare. They are not musty places (though I must admit to enjoying the old and sometimes musty smell of big city libraries like the one on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. That place is kind of grand.) I love walking into the Oxford Library and seeing the big, old aquarium with fish in it, and sitting down in the adult section to read by the big fireplace. I like sitting down and relaxing with magazines at the Clarkston Independence District Library as well as Orion and Brandon township libraries. And, since I love history, I love when libraries dedicate time, effort and as much space as they can to local history. The Clarkston Community Historical Society has a wonderful space in their library with pictures and artifacts from that community. The Orion Historical Society meets in their library. Oxford, Orion and the
Clarkston library all have access to digital copies of their community newspapers.
It’s awesome!
So, what are libraries aside from places to house loads and loads of books, magazines and newspapers?
They are gathering places for local community groups to meet; they are a resource for information,
historical displays, and a whole staff capable and trained to help with research; they offer educational
resources for little ones learning to read, as well as tutoring space, and group work for things like IB
projects; they are media resources, offering computers, printing capabilities, audiobooks, DVDs,
projection capabilities; and, they are places where library card holders can not only borrow books, they
can borrow things like flower seeds, wifi hot-spots, iPads, metal detectors, cake molds and more (talk to
your local library for what they have to borrow.)
* * *

Springtime is a time when library “friends” have book sales as fundraisers. I know there are book sales in
Goodrich from April 20-22, April 20-23 in Oxford and in Clarkston from April 26-29 (And, if you’re
lucky enough to be a Brandon Library Card holder, they have a permanent room where they sell used
books all year!)
If you’re a “voracious” reader like myself, or usually anyone else who loves libraries, springtime is
usually a good time to get a hold of “new” used books. I’m sort of a book hoarder because I hanker for the feel of paper pages in my hands. These book sales help satiate my book addiction. For pennies on the
dollar I can actually own a book, versus just borrowing it – from horror, science fiction, fantasy,
mysteries, thrillers, westerns, how-to books to even cook books. I love these book sales.
So, if you haven’t visited “your” library, get in there and start your own adventure.
Send comments to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *