As an educator, it is always a joy to meet a child who proudly and loudly advises, “I love books. I read all the books that I can find.” Happily, all of the classrooms that I occupy in the course of my teaching are filled with books appropriate to the ages of those classes. With the numerous alternatives to books that are available (including the inevitable laptops or other electronic devices), I am quick to applaud my student for his or her wisdom in being a reader.
It should come as no surprise that one of my heroes, Abraham Lincoln, frequently extolled the value of books in his musings: “All I have learned, I learned from books.” If I had the pleasure of meeting and having conversation with him, as a fan of books, I would ask Mr. Lincoln which books were his favorites. My guess is that the remaining great leaders of our world were also well read.
We often see notes about libraries, that they are becoming obsolete or superfluous, thanks to the availability of books and reference materials in alternate formats. Much of my childhood was spent in the Chicago public libraries. Beyond pure sentimentality, I would view the disappearance of libraries as a loss to learning from which civilization would never be able to recover.
Lincoln said, “My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”
For as long as I am able to continue writing and reading books, I will seek to be the best friend to many. My firm belief is that knowledge, books and the determination to lead a socially responsible life are inextricably tied. Shalom.