Get Thee to the Library!

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May 23, 2011 by WITS Editor

Dome of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the L...

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I will never forget the impact that Gwendolyn Brooks, Poet Laureate in 1985, had on me when she visited my high school and spoke to a small group of us in our school library.  She read a few poems, including ones from We Real Cool, and then answered questions.   One of the questions was about the Library of Congress.

She explained that the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, in terms of shelf space and number of books. It was built by Congress in 1800 and housed in the United States Capital until much of the collection was destroyed in the War of 1812.

Today the Library of Congress is housed in 3 different buildings and contains over 147 million items.  Although it is open to the public, only members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, and high-ranking government officials, including the Poet Laureate, may check out books.

I remember Ms. Brooks sweeping her arms in an arc across my high school library and saying that we must fill the libraries of the world with books by all sorts of people, not just the ones we relate to easily.

Thank you, Ms. Brooks.

by Marcia Chamberlain, Writers in the Schools

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Writers in the Schools (WITS)


Writers in the Schools (WITS) is the #1 arts education organization in Texas. With 80 writers and educators on staff, WITS reaches over 23,000 students a year in classrooms, community centers, museums, parks, and hospitals.

The glory of WITS is best expressed by the students--in their own words -- so this blog features essays, stories, and poems that were created by K-12 students in our program. All material (c) Writers in the Schools 2007-2013. If you wish to republish this work, please credit both the organization and the author and link back to this site. This material may not be used in commercial ventures of any kind.

Supporting WITS will help bring the pleasure and power of reading and writing to more Houston children helping to improve writing skills, build confidence, raise test scores, and enhance creativity.

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