Books Should be a Window to and a Mirror of the World

alex atkins bookshelf booksWhat’s so important about kids’ books — they can be windows to introduce them to the world, but they also need to see a reflection. They should be a window and a mirror… [For me, libraries have] been sanctuaries, a place I can go to discover.”

Carla Hayden, American librarian and the 14th Librarian of Congress, discussing the importance of books in an interview with Time magazine (September 26, 2016). Hayden, the first African American and first woman to hold that distinguished post, oversees more than 162 million items, filling more than 838 miles of bookshelves, in the extensive collection of the Library of Congress, considered the largest library in the world. That number includes more than 32 million books and print materials as well as more than 61 million manuscripts — in more than 450 languages. The library receives about 15,000 new items each day.

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