, Newburyport, MA


May 15, 2013

Why I'm supporting Salisbury library

To the editor:

Whenever I move, I immediately check out the closest Dunkin Donut and Starbucks location. The cup of coffee has great symbolism for me.

A close second is to check out the local library — even before I visit the local church. If you’ve moved a lot, you know what I mean.

I can recall driving from Detroit to Vero Beach, Fla., and feeling so alienated in the middle of the night that I actually moved my sleeping bag from a motel room in Georgia to the front seat of my Buick Sabre — the only space around with which I felt familiar.

Moving is stressful, second only to death and divorce.

Seeking out the local library at the start of a move is as much emotional as it is academic and practical. A geographical move entails some degree of uprootedness, separation and loss.

For me, getting a library card is the symbolic ticket to rootedness, connection and belonging — sometimes to the point of intimacy. Talk to anyone who has been homeless and that experience is intensified even more.

I’m supporting the library article at Salisbury Town Meeting on May 20. It has already received a 60 percentendorsement from those who voted in the April 30 election.

Whether you’ve moved a lot — or only occasionally — the Salisbury library is not only the geographical center of the town but also a critically social, academic and community center of our rootedness, connection and belonging. It speaks to who we truly are.

Bob Gallagher


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