I recently finished reading Anne Lamott’s Plan B: further thoughts on faith, and in her essay “Good Friday World” she writes:
My parents, and librarians along the way, taught me about the space between words; about the margins, where so many juicy moments of life and spirit and friendship could be found. In a library, you can find small miracles and truth, and you might find something that will make you laugh so hard that you will get shushed, in the friendliest way. I have found sanctuary in libraries my whole life, and there is sanctuary there now, from the war, from the storms of our families and our own minds. Libraries are like mountains or meadows or creeks: sacred space.
Anne Lamott wrote her essay in the dark shadow of the start of the Iraq War, but so much of her anger, sadness, and hope still feel extremely relevant and vital for our current social, political, and spiritual moment. And she’s right — the library can be a place of refuge, present in this current time yet connected in a thick web to so much that has come before.