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On why I love libraries so much (an ode to librarians, libraries, and library science)

I love books, I love reading, and I absolutely, completely, entirely adore libraries. I would have become a librarian had this been much more of an option for me at the time I was choosing careers.

CIDE's library building

One of the libraries I love the most in the entire world: CIDE Region Centro’s in the city of Aguascalientes. I was the library representative for 7 years and I still miss working with librarians to develop collections.

There are few things that lift my spirits as much as seeing photographs of libraries across the globe. Probably just as much as actually being in one, or reading a book. Over on the Twitterz, I requested that my followers send me photos of libraries they might possibly have in their archives.

I am a polymath because my parents always instilled in my a love for reading and knowledge. We always said that the family’s guild was going to be “education”.

And it definitely is.

My late auntie was a teacher. My Dad is a lawyer who taught in law school. My brothers and I all tutored learners since we were very young. I was 11 when I started teaching literacy programs in gang-riddled territories. How my parents gave me permission is beyond me.

My parents and auntie were always avid readers so their personal libraries have always been huge. When I was 12 I learned Dewey and Library of Congress classification schemes. I know how to calculate Cutter numbers. I’ve had a library card since I was 6 years old.

I classified my parents library and set up a home loan system. At 13. I have always loved reading and learning. Anybody who has been to my house and/or my CIDE office knows how much I love books (and reading them). I dreamed of becoming a librarian, studying library science.

Koerner Library at UBC

The University of British Columbia’s Koerner Library in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I owe them a big “thank you” for helping me track down sources, articles, etc. for my PhD dissertation.

I quite clearly remember my parents’ face when I said I wanted to be a librarian:

“Will there be enough jobs in the world of libraries and will there be enough libraries to give you a job?”

I became a chemical engineer instead. But my love of libraries has never even remotely faded. Because I’m a professor now (and I’m single and childless with no pets) I can now buy books with abandon. Sometimes book publishers send me free books. I give them away to libraries. Many books of mine have ended in the CIDE library collection. I also support public libraries and regularly donate books to the several ones I frequent here in Mexico.

Because I study comparative public policy using ethnographic methods (and I get invited to give talks and workshops across the globe), I get to visit hundreds of libraries.

Fish Creek Library (Calgary)

The Reader’s Nook at Fish Creek Library in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Being inside a library is a huge balm for my soul. I love teaching, I love educating, I love learning. And I love books and libraries. Because we are all house-bound, I needed an emotional pick me up by looking at libraries across the globe (many of which I’ve visited already). Thanks to my Twitter followers for feeding my soul.

May I be able (when this is all over) to come back to my hometown (Vancouver) and give away physical copies of my books as a token of gratitude for all your help. Thanks, librarians across the globe. I’m sure you miss your collections & your readers too. Sending love.

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Posted in academia.

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  1. Roland Tanglao says

    When this is over, i’m up for a raul meetup at any VPL branch! …peace and love from Vancouver

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