Have you noticed how often characters in books go to the public library for help in solving problems?
The main character of “Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea is a good example. Nineteen-year-old Nayeli dreams about her father, who journeyed the United States when she was young. After a showing in her Mexican hometown of The Magnificent Seven, it dawns on Nayeli that he isn’t the only man who has left town. She decides to go north herself and recruit seven men to return to Sinaloa and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over. Nayeli travels to Kankakee, Illinois, with the precious postcard she received from her father years ago. At a loss as to how to find her father, she is advised to make a trip to the public library for help. When she worries that she’ll be turned away because she is an illegal in the United States, these memorable words are spoken, “They help everybody.”
Indeed. That is the mission of the library.