A Library Love Letter
January 01, 2014
Imagine growing up without a public library in your town. Never attending a storytime, program, or book club. Having to buy every book you thought you might enjoy, only to find that you're falling asleep twenty pages in, instead of checking it out for free. No place to go at 8:00 p.m. to checkout a book the night before a book report is due. For people in this city, it sounds like fiction. But for the characters in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (and thousands of people in this country), it is very much a reality.
Twelve years ago, the city of Alexandriaville, Ohio decided to demolish the public library to build a parking lot for retail stores. So, world-renowned board game producer Luigi Lemoncello returns to his hometown to build a state of the art public library. In the manner of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, twelve seventh graders, who have never lived with a public library in their town, are chosen to participate in an overnight adventure at the library, complete with food and games. The next morning, the children discover they must find a way to get out of the library without using conventional methods like windows and doors. What ensues is a lesson in the Dewey Decimal System, classic literature, and the endless possibility of knowledge found in one building.
As technology continues to envelop our lives, many people have asked the question: "Why should we have libraries?" Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library leaves us asking the question, "How can we not have libraries?" Mr. Lemoncello says of the twelve children selected who have never been to a public library: "This is their chance to discover that a library is more than a collection of dusty old books. It is a place to learn, explore, and grow."
Hopefully we can all strive for the latter vision and never again question the need or worth of a public library.