In times of a national pandemic, getting to a library can be...harder, to say the least. Most are closed, with only a handful scattered across the country remaining open. This makes one of societies connecting threads- literature- is shut down. I hardly need to discuss the importance of literature- it connects us, shows us other people stories, highlights culture and presents sweeping ideas like love and war and desperation, bound up in an odd 400 pages or so. If nothing else, I know it calms me to curl up with a good book at the end of the day- a portable, engaging source of entertainment.

Which is why the loss of libraries- even for an impermanent period of time- is something that feels wrong. We can’t go out and get a book, and then pass it on to someone else, not for a while now. And that’s good, because we do need to fight this virus, and shutting down libraries is a small but easy way to do that- and a necessary way.

To provide the youth of our society, though, my school has set up a system that allows students to access the school’s library, even if we can’t get to a public one. Instead of just walking to the school’s library, though, we contact the school’s librarian and request a book. They’ll get it sent to us. This is great, since opening schools means that we are already in contact with other people who will get the book, so we can easily consume new tales without being exposed to anything we wouldn’t already.

Slowly, we’ll return to normal. And libraries reopening- a bridge made out of paper and ink that connects us to each other and to our minds, cultures, and ideas- is a part of that. I, for one, look forward to it.