When we visited the spectacular Boston Public Library last summer it was because I wanted the boys to see one of my favorite libraries in the world, which also happens to be the first publicly supported municipal library in the United States as well as one of the first large libraries where people could come and borrow books to take home. It now houses 8.9 million books including several of Shakespeare’s first edition folios and the personal library of John Adams.
And you know what my boys did? They marched into Bates Hall, a large reading room (and which is described on the BPL website as “architecturally…one of the most important rooms in the world”) and started immediately to read the titles of the books on the shelves. Because in their world, libraries are free, open, and readily available. Undaunted by marble grandeur or busts of famous authors or statues of lions, they wanted to know where the books for kids were. They wanted to bring books back to our hotel with us. They were ready to sign up for a library card, to sit down, and get reading.
This self-assurance, this connection to books, this understanding that libraries are a place of all of us to better ourselves and our minds – this is why I am donating a Kindle Fire to the Passports With Purpose fundraiser, which is in its final days and which needs your support to reach its goal of $80,000. All funds raised this year will go to the charity Room to Read, which will use the money to build two libraries in Zambia. You have until 12 a.m. PST on Friday, December 16, 2011 to make your donation and enter yourself in a raffle to win a fabulous prize of your choosing.
And yes, the prizes are wonderful. But the ultimate prize is making sure that children in Africa have this same chance to claim literacy, education, and books as their birthright
I hope you’ll give generously. You can do so on the Passports With Purpose donation page.