Richard Rhodes

Richard Rhodes: Libraries, the center of my existence

"So much of my education was not in formal classrooms - but in the library."

Well, we lived all over Kansas City, Missouri and libraries were absolutely at the center of my existence. So I visited every neighborhood library in the Kansas City Public Library System.

You know, I think most pleasurable part about going to library as a boy was wandering through the stacks discovering books by just looking at their titles, their spines, and just pulling one out. I remember the day, I was probably ten years old when I came across "Jesus as a Businessman" I remember thinking, even at that age, now there is a curious idea. What is this book about?

Because of the kind of subjects I write about, which tend to be highly technical, the libraries I use are usually University Libraries or a private libraries like the wonderful Linda Hall Library of Science in Kansas City, Missouri, which was the basis for writing book "The Making of the Atomic Bomb."

So much of my education and the education, I think, of a lot of children is not in formal classrooms but in the library exploring on one's own and for that reason in particular libraries are an immensely important part of our culture and should be sustained and supported.

Libraries deserve everyone's support because they expand the world for citizens, because they supply another and very important aspect of the education of their children and of themselves.

You think about most people's focus in their lives and their work. They are somewhat limited to the direct work that they do. Libraries give them a way to learn, to change, to grow, perhaps even to transform. Libraries as public institutions, in particular, are ways to maintain a democratic society that's knowledgeable about the world. I think that's are priceless quality that we need to sustain.

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Book Title: 

The Making of the Atomic Bomb,

Library Name: 

Kansas City Public Library System