A Writer’s Love Letter to Libraries

Writers create other writers, and readers become writers that create their own stories

Practice plays a significant role in the success of writing, but it takes more than a pen and paper to create a story.


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To be a good writer, you have to read. This well-known fact shared among writers was ingrained into my brain as a student going to university for my BFA. I’ve been an avid reader since I was little. A part of me always wanted to skip the literary analysis portion of my degree and go straight into workshop classes.

Even when I was an upperclassman enrolled in writing workshops designed to enhance my skills, I always ended up with assignments that required me to read.

It took me a while to figure out why. At that point in my college career, I felt like I had analyzed every piece of literature. I was one of those unusual students who enjoyed the books assigned to me, even in high school. There was a time when I was getting tired of reading.

I just wanted to write. And not have to think about how green symbolizes Gatsby’s longing for Daisy or study the concept of free indirect discourse in the works of Jane Austen.

Yet, despite everything, there were always those rare, beautiful stories that touched my soul and shook me to the core. They were the kind of stories that made me drop everything and retreat to my notebook, writing down concepts of ideas just waiting to be developed into something more.

My workshops became more than opportunities to hear feedback about my writing. I soon started to realize that I was beginning to read the works of others in ways I had never considered. Other fantastic writers started to point out details about my work that I would never have imagined.

Practice plays a significant role in the success of writing, but it takes more than a pen and paper to create a story.

Others must create their own stories first. Those begin to unravel until they reveal themselves in thousands of other novels, short stories, and poems.

Writers create other writers, and readers become writers that create their own stories.

Since graduating, I’ve had time to reflect on my journey to become an established writer. Much of it traces back to the libraries I visited and the books I consumed. The writing strategy I have become accustomed to reminds me why libraries play an essential role in people’s lives.

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Reading has so many benefits. It helps people absorb complex vocabulary, increases empathy, and has been proven to prevent cognitive decline. We care about fictional characters because we see ourselves in their stories. I’ve borrowed library books with the most fantastical settings imaginable. Yet, I sometimes feel like I understand them more than the world around me.

Nothing brings me more joy than witnessing a person reading a story that resembles their own. I love statements like “the characters look like me” or “I thought I was the only one who experienced this!” Libraries give people complete access to these pieces of literature.

Being the child of a single mother, we went through many periods of financial insecurity. My local public library was the one place I could go to print out my homework. I would transcribe my stories using their community computers and, of course, borrow free books.

In other words, there’s a lot of hope between the library walls. Between the multitudes of genres just waiting to be read and their opportunities for community members, we need libraries more than ever.

As a writer, I try to make sense of our current events and infuse them into my work. I prioritize featuring underrepresented characters and talking about issues that will help people empathize with other perspectives.

I hope to one day see my publications featured in a library display, reflecting on my own experiences of finding that perfect book. I can’t wait to hear about more writers with origins that begin within the comforts of libraries, much like my own. I want to continue learning from other authors with different experiences and think critically about what I’m reading.

That’s the true beauty of being a writer — you leave behind pieces of your heart for others to pick up, hoping that they find some temporary solace in the realms you create. They become pages that will wrinkle with tears and yellow with time. You hope that one day, a curious person will open the pages of your novel and become invested in the story you created.

Although we desperately want to, we can’t step into a storybook and magically transport ourselves to our characters’ worlds. We cry when their stories end because it means facing our reality. Our world is not a perfect place, and I recognize that libraries won’t always have an answer for all of life’s complexities. But I believe that libraries can be a haven for all people, and they will continue to be for as long as writers have a story to tell.