4 August 2011

With Asimov’s Help, A City Library Survives

Posted by John Freeland

Tuesday was an opportunity for Michigan voters to set up contests for the November election and settle a lot of local issues, many of which were angry attempts to recall officials. In Troy, Michigan, an affluent suburb in Oakland County of about eighty thousand citizens, voters had the choice to decide whether or not their public library would be funded another five years, or would close this Friday.

Michigan Radio Senior Analyst Jack Lessenberry has the story here. To keep the library open would cost the typical homeowner, monthly, about as much as a lunch combo at a fast food restaurant.

Lessenberry reports that when the library originally opened in 1971, the children’s librarian contacted the biochemistry professor and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, and asked him to write a letter to the kids of Troy. And he did.

“Dear boys and girls, congratulations on the new library, because it isn’t just a library. It is a spaceship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse and console you, and most of all, a gateway to a better and happier and more useful life.”

Happy to report, the voters of Troy have decided to fund their public library.