In 1971, prior to the opening of Troy, Michigan’s first public library, children’s librarian Marguerite Hart began a letter writing campaign asking notable individuals to share their memories of reading and illustrate the importance of libraries. She hoped these notes would inspire the city’s youth. Hart received 97 letters in return, from celebrities, politicians, and authors, including Dr. Seuss, Neil Armstrong, E.B. White, Pearl Buck, Ronald Reagan, and Douglas Fairbanks. The notes are eloquent, touching and thoughtful — Michigan State University President Clifton Wharton rhapsodizes on the responsibility of knowledge while Isaac Asimov writes that a library is “a friend that will amuse you and console you.” After the jump are some of our favorite letters to Troy’s children — to see all 97, head to the Troy Public Library website.
Dear young citizens of Troy,
Many centuries ago in Asia Minor in a city with the same name as yours, literature was born. One of the greatest poets who ever lived sat among his people and told stories of the fabulous past. And then their through the years until the legends became fact, the fact not so much of history but of the word, of language.
Your new library is the home of language, yours and all theirs from the beginning. In it you will learn how others lived and though and from it you will learn to live and think better for yourselves
David M. Kennedy
Secretary to the Pope