Do you remember the first time you went to the library?
I don’t, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t go to the library.
In school, the days we went to the library were my favorite. I love getting new books. I changed schools a lot and being the new kid is tough. The library was like a portal that connected me to the worlds I liked to escape to when transitions were too hard. The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary were the same regardless of my address. Sweet Valley High never stopped having drama and I could giggle and dream of having a twin no matter which school mascot was on my t-shirt.
As I have gotten older, I have come to understand that libraries are a privilege and that most of us have philanthropists to thank for having access to a free public library.
I call Galveston Island home these days. Galveston is such a unique city, so old that we had Native Americans watching the Spanish conquistadors landing their ships! How cool is that? The city itself wasn’t founded until 1839 but the port was established in 1816. However, the island had seen many ships come in before then.
Galveston is not the oldest city in Texas- it is not even in the top 10- but Galveston did have the first public, free library in Texas. That is thanks to a savvy businessman named Henry Rosenburg. When he died, he endowed the city with funds to start the library and it bears his name today as the Rosenburg Library.
The library is home to several historical society, a huge children’s library, and enough books to keep me busy until I die.
So, the next time you come to island- go see Henry and enjoy the legacy he left behind in the form of a library. The next time you visit your local library take a moment to be grateful to the people who made that gem a reality.