Local Library

I have worked in a library
and let me tell you this: my job 
was vital. Not just fielding 
people’s questions, lending 

books, but smiling, lending 
an ear, or sharing quiet 
conversation with society’s 
most isolated and vulnerable.

One time, a young medical student 
arrived overwhelmed by her new life 
and she found solace among 
stacks while her baby slept.

Another time a widower, so shy 
that he could barely speak, whispered 
to me that he loved the beauty 
of his old-fashioned alarm clock. 

If he were here today I like to think 
he’d have set it for this hour—
this minute—to wake us up, to rattle 
our bones with its annoying sound

to make us jump out of our skin 
to do everything we can to quickly 
save this library that’s been a haven 
to our community for years. 


I wrote this protest poem for friends in Aberdeen, Scotland. March 2023. They read it, and other poems, during an outdoor public protest against permanent closure of a local library.

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