During the pandemic, my family kept using the library. In Maryland, after libraries shut down with the state’s declaration of an emergency, they re-opened for curbside pick-up and online ordering.
We wore masks. We stood in line. It didn’t take too long. Of course, it was no costume party.
Books, CDs, and DVDs, bring information, stories, inspiration, laughter, from everywhere in the world into two humble hands. The library is a form of dialogue in a way. It offers messages in a bottle as well as broadcasts to the world. These vessels of human imagination know no borders, and very few borders have ever quarantined the ideas in a book.
This past year, my family revisited Hayao Miyzaki’s animated epic films, including the amazing Spirted Away, Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa (anime), all of which deal with relationships and the environment.
Right now, I’m reading The Ancient Near East World, an illustrated history by Amanda H. Podany (Oxford University Press 2005), and learning about life in ancient Mesopotamia, courtesy of the local library. As the poet Emily Dickinson said, “There is no frigate like a book.”
I also read and recommend Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death, and Art by Rebecca Wragg Sykes, about Neanderthal hunter-gathers who lived in Europe and the Middle East from 300,000 B.C. to 40,000 B.C. or so. I also picked up C. G. Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul, my first dive into that famous psychologist-philosopher. I recently enjoyed this excellent documentary about the U.S. 1950s-1960s folk scene and movement, and featuring Bob Dylan’s rise through it: Bob Dylan: The Greenwich Villages Years (ISBN 8-23564-54819-7).
There is so much at the library. How wealthy we are as a community and people with these shared, cherished available resources.