By James Salsido

Kalamazoo Public Library (Image from http://www.dmaa.com/)

Kalamazoo Public Library (Image from http://www.dmaa.com/)

I stayed in Kalamazoo at two different points in my life, and the first thing I did when I had free time was find out where the local library was. The attached image is a picture of that library. I love the combination of the curves and the straight lines and all of the glass windows that make up the exterior of the building. The lines speak to me of order and organization while the curves remind me of the way stories and poems can start in one place and end up somewhere completely unexpected. The combination of the two reminds me of the complex nature of art and, of course, of life in general.

I love libraries. I think they are some of the most amazing places on the planet. They’re nexus points for every possible topic you could ever dream of researching, whether you are looking for entertainment or education. I have never been to a library where there was not at least one other patron present at the same time.

I used to live in a small town with a library that sat between a party store and a hardware store. There was barely enough room to move around in the aisles. I’ve also been to libraries so large that I never really had the chance to explore them entirely. One of the most amazing buildings I’ve ever been in was a library in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when I was looking for something to read during my stay.

I wish I could still read books in print the way I could years ago. The beauty of libraries, though, is that they are not just for people with normal vision levels. Audiobooks are a major part of my life, and I started reading them when I found a whole section of them in my local library. The first ones I read were on audio CDs. Later I found a section of audio books that had been recorded onto small devices that required only a battery and a pair of headphones to access them. I also found that some libraries will actually mail audiobooks to their patrons as well.

Libraries have helped me in many ways over the years. I have always loved to read a lot, so I rarely go more than a week without accessing one kind of library or another. I go to my local library at least once or twice a month in person to check for new and interesting audio books. I also receive an audiobook or two in the mail on a fairly regular basis through the state library system. I have gone to the local library to research various topics that have come up over the course of my life as a writer of science fiction and supernatural fantasy, and I have learned a lot from the many reference books and documentary films I have examined.

I have noticed that many people prefer to work on projects of all kinds in the library because of the peaceful and quiet environment that it provides. Even though I live alone and can have a quiet atmosphere whenever I need it, every once in awhile I find it refreshing to take whatever research or writing projects I have to the library just for a change of scenery.

I also have been to a number of events at the library over the years that have been very entertaining and informative experiences. I have participated in a handful of book signings and sales at my local library, which were very exciting for me as a writer and as a fan of books. I was able to meet and talk with other writers and readers that I normally may have never met.

As I said, I am interested in the supernatural. A local paranormal investigation team does a presentation on the topic once a year at my local library, and I have attended the last three presentations in a row. The evidence and equipment displayed in these presentations has always fascinated me, and I hope someday to become an investigator myself once I have the proper equipment and resources with which to do so.

I have learned a lot thanks to the services provided by libraries over the years. They have made life much more pleasant for me by providing a steady stream of reading material for my enjoyment. For that I will always be grateful.