“I discovered that the library is the real school”

Published by Lori Pickert on June 10, 2012 at 10:20 AM



You’re self-educated, aren’t you?


Yes, I am. I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on — well, what if you don’t like those books? — Ray Bradbury’s Paris Review interview




Comment by Dawn on June 10, 2012 at 10:23 AM

...like catnip... Love that part!
We have a regular library day but always find ourselves there more than a few days a week. Off to read the interview.

Comment by Kristin on June 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Hear hear!!

Comment by Dawn Suzette on June 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM

"Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it’s really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us."
This part of the interview jumped out at me. I am not much of a fiction reader much less science fiction but this makes a lot of sense. I guess I better pull some of Wes' sci-fi off the shelf and read a bit more.
Thanks for linking to the interview. That last part... tears.

Comment by Heather on June 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

My kiddos could spend days at the library. So true about finding what interests and excites you without be required to suffer throughout he rest. Even while on our temporary stay here in D.C. we belong to the library and visit at least weekly.

Comment by Cristina on June 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Love this! His views are really reflected in his writing. I noticed that when I read "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" last year. Thank you for posting the interview!

Peace and Laughter!

Comment by gypsylovescircus on June 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Thanks for the interview post....I love it!! I work in a library and homeschool my kids, so naturally we spend many, many, many hours in the library. Can you get a better education....well, maybe on the road!

Comment by Lori Pickert on June 10, 2012 at 10:29 AM


he’s such a fantastic person as well as a wonderful writer.

re: libraries, there's a scene in "gidget" (an old movie with sandra dee about a girl who learns to surf) where she's teaching herself to surf with a library book. she says something along the lines of "i thought you could learn anything from a library book." i've always felt that way. if i want to learn about something, i go straight to the library.

glad you all enjoyed the interview — dawn, ME TOO re: tears at the end.

Comment by Deirdre on June 10, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Love Ray, and this interview too.

So happy you are here and posting:)

Comment by catesfolly on June 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Ray Bradbury wrote one of my favorite books on writing, among his other wonderful books. He seemed to keep a playful approach to learning all the way through his life.

I am trying to learn to play again from my son. Play was pretty well schooled out of me at an early age and it turns out it's really helpful later for figuring out what you want to do with your life (in a daily way and in a long-term way).

I'm so glad you've created this space Lori!


Comment by Michelle on June 30, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Awesome quote! Considering homeschooling -- an ongoing condition. My kid didn't know libraries are free toll today! Bad mom.

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