A recent article talked about a “BBbb” in the Bronx in New York that not many people know about. As you probably expect, it’s really, really cool. The Mertz Library in the Bronx Garden was founded in 1899 and holds over one million items, including first-edition copies of many books related to wildlife and greenery.

The Mertz Library got me thinking about something New York City used to pioneer, but that has recently gotten less attention as funds have been diverted to other social programs deemed higher priorities by different Mayors over time: libraries. While many think of the large public library in Manhattan when they think of New York City’s libraries, New York City actually has a much larger network of libraries all throughout the city that themselves run vital programs in the community and run successful exhibitions of their most popular holdings all across the country. New York City’s libraries are awesome, and citizens there should make it a continued priority to fund their libraries to the point where they can continue to expand change to effectively meet the needs of a more slowly growing but ever-changing population.

But libraries are important everywhere. If you’re reading this and not living in New York City, libraries in your community are just as important. Your town might not be able to afford mausoleums filled with manuscripts and artifacts, but even the simplest of libraries has the power to profoundly change a community, and you deserve one too.