Librarians who work at public libraries can find almost anything, even someone’s lost dog. No, they will not look for your lost pooch, but they will provide information about public and private agencies that will. Patrons ask questions and librarians provide information. Because public libraries are free and open to everyone, they have been called the poor man’s university. These tax supported institutions are so much a part of American life, that many of us may take them for granted, including this reference librarian. However, it takes only one patron, someone new to the United States, perhaps an immigrant, who will remind me of how special our public libraries are; “The card is free? The books are free?”
There is no better time than this weekend to reflect upon the services that the Los Angeles Public Library provides to all of us. On October 13 -14, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the reopening of Central Library, whose history and appreciation are covered in several excellent books. Where did we come from? To better understand and appreciate the history of all libraries, consider these books.