On Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14th, visit our librarians on Q-Level in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library from 11:00am to 2:00pm for Library Love Notes. There will be chocolate and other sweets!

I’m of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved. –Author Barbara Kingsolver

Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this mission. No committee decides who may enter, no crisis of body or spirit must accompany the entrant. No tuition is charged, no oath sworn, no visa demanded. Of the monuments humans build for themselves, very few say “touch me, use me, my hush is not indifference, my space is not barrier. If I inspire awe, it is because I am in awe of you and the possibilities that dwell in you. –Author Toni Morrison

Children know that if they have a question about the world, the library is the place to find the answer. And someone will always be there to help them find the answer–our librarians. (A librarian’s) job is an important one. Our nation runs on the fuel of information and imagination that libraries provide. And they are in charge of collecting and sharing this information in a helpful way. Librarians inform the public, and by doing so, they strengthen our great democracy. –First Lady Laura Bush

People love libraries. Some love them for the books they house, some for the safe and welcoming space they provide, others for the ideas of knowledge, democracy, inquiry and inspiration they represent.

Myself, I have a lot of memories in my life that revolve around libraries, and I still recall intimate details of the libraries along my life’s path, from my public library growing up to the libraries (of varying strength) at my elementary, middle, and high schools. As I’m sure many JHU students can relate, I have memories both fond and frantic from my university library as an undergraduate.

MSEL looms large in these reflections. I still frequently glance at the table on M-level where I spent more hours than I care to count in my first and second years of graduate school. Those years were grueling, but the library was a space of shared commiseration with my fellow students. Admittedly, part of the reason I would show up early to snag that table (this was before the BLC and its group study rooms) was in hopes that the cute guy in my cohort would come by and have a seat too. He’s now my husband, so the library didn’t let me down.

My appreciation for libraries, and this one in particular, are more than mere nostalgia. I’ve used every kind of library resource over the years for my scholarly research as well as personal pleasure and enlightenment, from curious manuscripts in Special Collections, dusty microfilms, vast online databases, and towers of books for my dissertation, to the DVDs and popular reading of the McNaughton Collection when I want to relax. And I haven’t even gotten to the people yet. Librarians and library staff are amazing people and helpful, knowledgeable resources. Read the acknowledgements in any book and you are bound to see testament to the work and support of librarians and archivists.

Do you have special moments, memories, and affection for the library? On Wednesday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day, visit our librarians on Q-Level of MSEL between 11:00am and 2:00pm for Library Love Notes. Share why you love the library, and the library will give you some love in return (in the form of chocolate and sugary sweets of course).