Freedom to Read, Freedom to Choose

by Lori Nofziger, Book Harvest volunteer

freedomI’ve had a library card for as long as I can remember. Over time, I read my way through the children’s section of my small-town public library, from the picture books and early readers through the elementary and middle school titles. Here, finding a book like Little House in the Big Woods led me to all the books in that series and more, the basket on my bike weighed down with as many as I could carry.

I got my first job working at this library, and later went on to a rewarding career as a librarian and now as a volunteer at Book Harvest.

A core value of librarianship that I hold dear is that everyone—regardless of age, income bracket, ethnicity, or zip code—should have access to information and to books. They must also be able to select those books for themselves, and have the freedom “to read, seek information, and speak freely.” (American Library Association)

Which brings me to one of the things that I love about Book Harvest: that it provides a resource for children to select books to build their own libraries at home. Through Book Harvest’sBooks on Break and Community Book Bank programs, kids can determine which books they’ll take home, which stories they’ll share with their siblings, what particular combination of pictures or words they can keep as their own.

At Book Harvest we give children more than books. We give them the power of choice. We give kids a way to make their own discoveries and connections, just like I did.