Speaking of Libraries
June 6, 2011
In 1971, Marguerite Hart, the children’s librarian of my hometown of Troy, Michigan, wrote to dozens of politicians, writers, artists and otherwise notable individuals asking them to send in a few inspirational words for the children of Troy on the opening of its first public library. When I wrote about recalling the smell of the stacks, this was the library I was thinking of. I remember going there to binge on Matt Christopher books in elementary school, and to research class reports and use the computers later on.
97 letters came back in response to Hart’s request, and a handful of them were recently highlighted on Letters of Note, like E.B. White saying that books were people—”people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book”:
Or Dr. Seuss, being Dr. Seuss:
I went through all 97 letters and pulled out some other ones that caught my attention. Several referenced that other Troy, including Vincent Price:
Edward Ardizzone said he was at a loss for words, then launched into a vivid account of his childhood in a village in Suffolk:
Other responses were sent back from secretaries, expressing regret. Hitchcock was shooting a film:
And E.M. Almedingen had unfortunately passed away:
One of my favorites was from John Burns, the Governor of Hawaii, who offered some rules of etiquette:
See the entire collection on the Troy Public Library’s website.