Access is not just about having books at hand, though that is essential. I can pick up any number of books without leaving my home let alone my office. I am surrounded by books. The book flood begins at my front door and follows me to the car and the office. That physical access means I am never at loose ends without for a book to read.
But access goes beyond being able to place my hands on a book. I also have emotional, moral, and intellectual access. I am a skilled reader, one with much reading experience to bring to the pages of a book. I also bring life experiences to the book. I bring my sense of right and wrong, my notions of truth and justice, my concepts of the workings of the universe to books.
I know that having these access points is critical. And I know that having these access points is, in part, why practicing my lifelong reading habits is made easier. I worry, though, about those who do not have access. I think of the surveys I have done in schools where kids report having no or perhaps 1 or 2 books at their homes. I think of how far away the public libraries are from my own home and wonder how kids whose parents work sometimes more than one job will ever make it to the public library. These kids are unlikely to have disposable income to spend on books as well.
More importantly, I worry about the other access points and how those will ever develop. How will they get books that challenge them intellectually, morally, emotionally, etc? The gatekeepers, the challengers, the censors are preventing growth in these access points. If kids never get access to books, to ideas, how will that stunt their growth?
I wish I could be more eloquent today. The events of the morning have left me with a jumble of emotions. #lovetrumpshate