Scott Westerfeld

2017 ALA Midwinter - Scott Westerfeld on Libraries Changing Lives

"So many libraries are just saving lives."

We spoke with YA author Scott Westerfeld at the American Library Association 2017 Midwinter Meeting. Here's what he had to say about libraries:

I think every community winds up with the library the need.

That's one of the great things about what librarians do is they adapt to what, you know, what that neighborhood needs,  what that community needs.  There are some places where libraries become social service networks. There are some places where they're job placement centers.  There are some places where they're, you know, for some children they're a way to escape from what what that neighborhood is like, and to to escape from, you know, from their parents or from from their peers. And it's a way to find a new community of people who value books and people who value... and it's just a place to find safety for some kids.

So really, I mean, I've seen so many libraries that are just saving lives.

As a YA writer, I've really enjoyed the sort of rise of the YA librarian and of the teen center. I think it's been great to see teenagers focus more on books and one of the results of that is that they've come together in libraries and they found communities. Never more than now have I been glad that libraries are out there.  I think for a lot of kids the world seems very uncertain and unsafe right now and libraries are place where they can find other people who think the way they do, know, that they're seeing themselves represented in books in a way they're not going to see themselves represented on the national stage. And I think that's incredibly valuable, and I think it all I think it'll make a lot of difference to a lot of kids.  It will make a lot of difference to our nation going forward, that those kids won't feel excluded.