Thomas Friedman said recently “The great task is government and of leadership is now going to be about taking things away from people.” Here in our small Western Massachusetts community we have had a major take-away. Our bookmobile has been permanently retired. It has been a lifeline to rural libraries, delivering new books and videos 4 times a year. Bookmobile day was always wonderful. I used to help select many years ago but I was terrible at it. To be a good book picker you need to be fast and have the ability to grab a variety of books, everything from current fiction to romance novels, children’s books to cookbooks, without doing more than glancing at the jacket. One thing I learned is that generally, you can judge a book by its cover. I could never resist. “I’m just going to read the flap,” I would tell myself. But, of course, I never did. I would read the first paragraph, then the next, then, while the other volunteers were helping carry the chosen titles into the library, I would have picked only a few, totally immersed in something fascinating ,unaware that I had been no help at all. I wasn’t asked back after the first couple of times.

Anyway, the bookmobile is no more. The fleet was aging and there is no money to replace it. No new books had been added to the collection for several years. Our library will be fine. The town is willing to support it and we have a wonderful librarian and local committee to keep it running smoothly. This is not true for all small libraries. It is sad to think that I will never again see the bookmobile and think, “Yeah!!!”

Books are such a big part of preparedness profile. My bookshelves are arranged by subject. I look through my titles and realize I have the wisdom of scores of experts in a variety of fields. As more things are “taken away” we will have to learn how to do for ourselves. Books can be the bests jumping off point. Befriend you local library. Suggest titles and subjects the acquisition person. Vote for funding. Libraries are a treasure, one we should all use.