We recently received this story from Pamela Phillips Olson (pictured above, second from right), one of our library patrons and donors, and thought it was a lovely story to share with all our supporters! Pamela recently celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary with her husband, Steven, and their son’s wedding in a combined celebration at Central Library. Thanks to Pamela for writing about her experience, and to Eve Siegel for taking the photo above.

My family has loved libraries for generations! My mother, who was the youngest of six in her family of first-generation, library-loving Americans, passed her love on to me, as I have done with my own children.

As soon as I could print my name, off my mother and I went on the number six bus to the St. George Library, overlooking the Staten Island Ferry landing. On the way, she warned me to keep my hands clean, explaining that when she was a girl, she had to line up and show her hands to the librarian before touching the books. Although that policy sounds extreme and discriminatory in this day and age, my mother did not regard it so. For her, it only reinforced a sense of the sanctity of books and reading.

Recently my family had a “doubleheader” event celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and our son Ben’s marriage. We chose the top floor of Central Library for the celebration. It was a perfect venue … with a beautiful atmosphere that works well for a crowd. It was even more perfect because my husband is a book-loving retired English teacher, and Miriam Parker, our new daughter-in-law, is a published novelist and Vice President of Ecco Press, a division of Harper Collins!

In the library you can find a comfortable place to read, use computers, enjoy art workshops and displays, attend lectures and films, and even take dancing lessons. Our libraries not only serve many different needs, but they also unite us. All members of our community are welcome.

Not long ago, we went to the Central Library to attend a solemn vigil for Muslims who had been murdered at prayer. In the hallway were individual prayer rugs and the names of the victims with some biographical information about them. Leaders from about a dozen religious organizations spoke to a large audience. Not every venue would be appropriate for accommodating such an event. It was wonderful that the library was used for such an important community gathering.

I am writing this to remind us of this precious multipurpose institution. Support it, rent it for your happy occasions, and use it to explore all aspects of our world and community.