Sapphire: A tragic mistake

The public library filled a gap that my schools weren't able to fill.

For me, libraries were where I got books. My mother was a big reader, but we were not rich and we rarely went to the bookstore, so every week without fail my mother went to the library, you know, we always got the maximum amount usually , back in those days it was up to eight to ten books you could check out even though I couldn't read all those in a week and I'd have to bring them back to renew. So it was always a source of reading material for me.

For whatever reason the public library filled a gap that my schools weren't able to fill, I don't know why we didn't have libraries in my school. But not to put down my school but it was from the Philadelphia Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, Texas Public Library... this is where I got my books.

No, I never had a relationship, until I was older with a librarian. My mother had relationships with the librarian. And she would bring us in to various libraries, explain to the librarian, how old we were and what was appropriate for us, you know. They should go to the young adult section. And then went over to the adult section to get what she was gonna read. So she was very much a part of that system, and she was in lockstep with the librarians.

And  never had a librarian who I got close to until I got older and was in college of course. I, uh, I'd used the library to get books, I recently went to, in the past month, went to a seminar on digital research, online research given by the New York Public Library just really trying to, again get something that I hadn't gotten in school from the public library.

So that, just really trying to acquaint myself with how to do scholarly research online, which no one taught me how to do in college. I really did not totally know how to do it myself.

So it's still a source of  information and a place to get books, although I do frequent bookstores much more than I did as a child.

[On budget cuts] Cutting money from, you know, pieces that could be nurturing and healing and developing young people is just a big mistake. I mean, they're gonna cut from the schools, so when the kids come to the library to get what they can't get at school, as I did, and then you cut from the library? So you've cut everything.

It's a mistake, a tragic mistake. One that we'll be able to look back, 20 years from now, and say if we had not done that we would have had less children dropping out. If we had kept the tutoring program, if we had kept the reading enrichment program, if we had kept the English as a Second Language program we would have had less beds being filled in prisons. We're gonna be able to look back and see the reprecussions of that.

Well right now I'm working on, you know, promoting my new novel to kids. And when I'm not doing that I'm at home writing my next new novel.

Creative Commons LicenseAll author videos are available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. We encourage libraries and library supporters to reuse this content and ask only that you provide a link back to the website. To request a copy of an author video contact the ALA Office for Library Advocacy at

Book Title: 

Push: A Novel