Libraries, the Texan way.
I couldn't help myself. Surely you all do it. Let's have a show of hands. Who finds themselves popping in to the local library when visiting new places?
Whilst on holiday in Texas last week I happened upon University Park Public Library and, seduced by the very fancy front door* (and, to be honest, the lure of air conditioning on what was a stonkingly warm day), I persuaded my hosts that we should take a look.
As well as being greeted by the aforementioned cool air, there was a very smiley man on the desk, a handsome selection of comfortable armchairs (I resisted the temptation to sit down and settle in for the day) and a wall display dedicated to Laura Bush.
Views on politics aside, a qualified Librarian and former First Lady, Mrs Bush set up the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries with the simple aim of helping schools expand their libraries "to increase students' love for reading." She campaigns on and promotes literacy, most recently visiting a school near Dallas. The foundation also offers grants including the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, supporting projects to recruit and educate the next generation of librarians, faculty, and library leaders; and to support early career research. It also assists in the professional development of librarians and library staff.
It's always interesting to see how other people run and promote libraries, their motivators and sponsors.
Whose picture do you have hanging on your library wall?
* As you can see from the photo, the UP Library front door is shiny and welcoming, which certainly put it head and shoulders above the National Library in Argentina…