Driving down roads is a funny business sometimes. When you're alone in the car, the mind can go anywhere. I've solved so many of the world problems, written poems into the talk-to-text feature on my phone that later sound like a John Cage piece of music thanks to autocorrect, planned out what I will say when I get where I'm going and determined what I should've said if I were as clever in person as I am driving away alone lamenting not having wittier retorts.
The mind is free of judgement when you're alone at the wheel. "There is nothing that the road cannot heal," Connor Oberst
Today I got to thinking about libraries.
I won't say I never think about libraries. I do miss sitting on the floor of the library, thumbing through old art books and looking at some of history's great works and photography. But today I was thinking about their importance. Probably because a friend posted an article I still need to read and in all likelihood share... this friend usually posts pretty quality articles.
The gist of the article, based on the headline (which is not a good reason to share by the way) was how detrimental it is to society that cuts have been made to school libraries.
It made me think about the ridiculousness of several area school board members who got all worked up about books about being gay being on display during Pride month and that information about Critical Race Theory exists at all.
I remember taking out Mein Kampf, an English translation, from the library. Not because I admired Hitler or wanted to shore up my white supremacy chops, but because I felt knowledge is power. I learned a little bit about how corruption and hate can grow through reading that book. I even read a bit of the Bible in the library. Oddly I read more of the Bible in the library than I ever did in a church. (To be honest, most of the Bible I have read, the old King James Version I think it was, happened under a tree.)
Knowledge is power and having resources to that knowledge is extremely important.
For instance, perhaps if any of the school board members took the time to look up Critical Race Theory so they could actually define what it is, they wouldn't be creating such ridiculous policies and putting hard working, intelligent teachers fearing loss of their jobs for teaching knowledge and resources.
A library let's one have the ability to be alone in one's thoughts and look up information unjudged - even school board members.
I admit, I don't take enough advantage of the library myself. Most local library art sections are pretty weak.
College library art sections, at one time, were amazing. One local college recently got rid of stacks and stacks of their books and expanded their online offering. I didn't have the heart to ask if they got rid of their art books.
All that said, if we continue to lose these institutions or allow them to diminish, then we are going down a very dangerous road. And the Wikipedia future is not one to place complete trust.
The Oil Region Library association is fundraising this week. In the past, they participated in the Bridge Builder's annual Week of Giving, but that program was discontinued last fall.
So the library is taking it on themselves to raise $14,000. The first $6,000 that will be be matched to give them a $12,000, of the overall total.
What prompted me to take my car ride rant, and yes they are often out loud to myself, to this blog was number three on their list of reasons to the donate.
"When you give to the Founders Fund you are supporting... Centers of Democracy – In a polarized world, drown out the noise by researching ideas on your own through accessible resources representing views from all sides of the aisle."
Knowledge is power.
From the ORLA newsletter
In the absence of Week of Giving, we are inviting you to continue your generous support during National Library Week, April 3-9.
Seven years ago, ORLA was founded with a dream of uniting all three Venango County libraries to offer and preserve quality services across our region. ORLA seeks to continue enhancing cooperation, creativity and generous community spirit through our new Founders Fund.
When you give to the Founders Fund you are supporting:
1 Library Across 3 Communities – Oil City, Franklin & Cooperstown - Experience the same quality service at any location to access over 150,000 shared items. Pick up and drop off at any location with most resources provided free of charge and no late fees. In the future, we seek to become more involved within our region via a traveling bookmobile.
Community Centers – We are centers of wit, insight and collective wisdom. In an average year, your libraries offer approximately 1,000 free educational and community programs.
Centers of Democracy – In a polarized world, drown out the noise by researching ideas on your own through accessible resources representing views from all sides of the aisle.
Thanks to the support of the ORLA Board, ORLA Committee members and the Oil City and Franklin Friends groups, there are matching funds that will automatically match all donations received up to $6,000!
Donate online at https://oilregionlibraries.org/founders-fund/, or in person at your library!
Please make all checks payable to: ORLA, 2 Central Ave. Oil City, PA 16301.
We thank you in advance for your support!
You are helping to maintain ORLA’s status as your community centers throughout our county while paving the way for future growth and development.
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The thoughts expressed on this page are items for consideration. They may at times be controversial, but hopefully they are always insightful and spur thought and debate.