Donald Munro is a column editor in the Entertainment Section of our local newspaper, The Fresno Bee. (You can read his blog here). In the Sunday newspaper he wrote about the importance of the Fresno downtown library, how it is 50 years old and it is time to build a new one. There are plans to do just that if the voters will pass a bond measure next year to do so. This is one thing that will revitalize our Fresno downtown area.
He shared some reflective stories of libraries he remembers:
“My earliest memories growing up in the Santa Cruz mountains include my regular Saturday morning trek to the Felton branch library. Housed in a quaint, steepled 19th-century building that used to be the Presbyterian church, the library felt like home… Other libraries have played an important part in my life. As an undergraduate walking up to the towering five-story Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, I’d crane my neck to take in its sleek, modernist concrete contours. At graduate school, the imposing Butler Library at Columbia University, with its Greek columns, almost made me feel like royalty, and I’d spend hours wandering the dimly lighted stacks. (Sometimes I’d find books that hadn’t been checked out for 100 years.) In Anchorage, Alaska, the spectacular city library — whose contemporary domed rotunda has a view of the snow-capped Chugach Mountains — was a backdrop to countless hours of my life.”
I also grew up in Santa Cruz and remember the small public library that was about two miles from my house. My brothers and I would ride our bikes to this library, especially in the summer when they had the summer reading program and you could win prizes for reading! As I was looking through the Santa Cruz historic pictures housed on the Santa Cruz Public Library website, I found a picture of the inside of that library! And, in this picture, here is the librarian I remember! Mrs. Meng would walk with a shuffle across the linoleum floors and you could never mistake her “shhhhh!” that would keep the library quiet. And, yes, times have changed, but the memories of good libraries will be forever etched in our minds.