At the American Library Association’s virtual Midwinter Meeting, First Lady Jill Biden joined ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. for a conversation about libraries, learning, and literacy.
Dr. Biden shared childhood memories of walking to her local library every two weeks and taking home as many books as she could carry. In college, she met young students who couldn’t read, which inspired her to become a teacher.
“Loving to read means loving to learn,” she explained. “And learning is how we grow into the people we want to become.”
As a community college professor, Dr. Biden always sends her students to the library when she assigns papers. “That's where they learn to research,” she said. “In a world where there is so much information to wade through, [librarians] help students develop their critical thinking skills.
“In big cities and small towns, libraries fulfill a purpose that almost nothing else does,” she continued. “They're a place of information for all. A place where people can come together as a community.”
Dr. Biden’s remarks included an inspiring message to library workers about the difference they make every day. “Never forget that what you're doing matters. Right now, someone out there is a better thinker because of you,” she shared. “Someone is standing a little taller because you helped them find the confidence they need. Someone is working a little harder because you pushed them to try. And someone is kinder because you showed them what that meant.”
For more stories about America’s libraries, subscribe to the I Love Libraries newsletter.