The Role of Libraries

by Christine Volker

We reached out to community residents and our members about their perspectives on libraries and the Friends.

For many, libraries evoke childhood memories – and sometimes a hint of romance.

Read on to hear about their experiences:

“My fondness for libraries dates back to when I was a child.  When I would ask my father a question he couldn’t answer, he’d say, “Let’s go look it up at the library.”  We would then walk a couple of blocks to the Carnegie Library.  Public libraries are our only cradle-to-grave educational institutions. The Friends of the Library supplement the inadequate budget of the Library.”

Rosemary Corbin, Past Mayor of Richmond


“I have such fond memories of our library.  I was small when it was built and I have always loved the physical structure as well as it being the Library.Before we started dating, my husband and I used to meet at the Library in the evenings when we were in High School.  To study. Libraries are community living rooms, especially now when they include cafes, art exhibits, meeting rooms, a variety of programs, etc.  And because they are available to everyone, everyone now has access to information and technology. The question is:  why doesn’t everyone support the Friends of the Library?”

 Sandi Genser-Maack, President, The Richmond Public Library Foundation


“I used the library in school and now I’m a senior citizen. The importance of the library is to be able to supply all the resources available to all. I support the library because it has always had such a great impact on my life. I love the idea it is to be used for all the generations under me and available for whatever way others use it. It‘s such a great place for all types of educational tools. The library or the Friends of the Library can do more for children or teenagers. I love going to the library when I feel the urge and it simply puts a smile on my face.”

Annette Thomas


 “The San Pablo Library in the 1950’s was next to Dover Elementary School where I attended Kindergarten through 6th grade. As the daughter of a middle-aged Italian immigrant father, my first language was Italian and although we subscribed to the “Richmond Independent” newspaper, we didn’t buy books or magazine subscriptions. Having a library near the elementary school allowed me to take books home, improve my reading skills and learn about people and places. Public libraries are important because they are free, offer enjoyment, diversion and life-long learning. I know people buy books but I never thought it was prudent unless it was a special book. I support the Friends of the Richmond Public Library because of the important influence libraries had in my life. I think the Richmond Public Library is one of the best things in Richmond. The selections are up to date and the reference librarians have always been helpful and knowledgeable.The Richmond Public Library and the Friends are doing a fine job giving support to our diverse community. The alcove offering books for sale is inviting.”

Margaret Accornero Baker

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