Marilyn Johnson

Marilyn Johnson: A safe zone for smart girls

"Librarians will find a way to keep the doors open if we all stand with them."

I've used libraries in Michigan and Ohio. I use the Geaga County Public Library in Chardon, Ohio.

I worked as a page there when I was sixteen years old. I used to go upstairs to the town hall, that's where it was, and all of the back issues of newspapers and magazines were kept in the attic, and as a page, it was my designated job to go crawling through the dust in the attic to get the back issues.

I would go to the library and get as many books as I wanted. For me, the smell of the books, and the kindness of the librarians, and what I saw as their incredible generosity, to let me take half a shelf every time I came in, stayed with me forever.

It was a place where I guess, that love of reading and your intellectual inquiry were not laughed at. They weren't geeky, they were,in fact, encouraged.

It was a safe zone for a smart girl to go.

[On budget cuts]

I mean I hate to see a contraction, at a time when we need libraries to be technology leaders. At a time when we need libraries to be buying those e-readers. And all of the other things, the computers to keep us connected to each other in this world.

I would love to see libraries in a state of expansion, as they were a few years ago. The reality is tougher than that.

Librarians are the most resourceful profession out there. They will figure out a way to keep us all connected, to keep the doors open, if we all stand with them, and firm our common desire to to have a commercial free space, that's open to anyone.

"Open to all" it says over the library.

I just saw the first paperback copies of "This Book is Overdue." I am going to be promoting that. I'm going to be speaking at a number of library conferences. And I'll be, as always, Twittering and Facebooking and causing mischief.

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Book Title: 

This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

Library Name: 

Geaga County Public Library in Chardon, Ohio