Liquidation sales are underway at Borders Books nationwide, as the Michigan-based company goes belly-up, and with that news comes a resurgence of talk about the future of books and bookstores.
At the same time, there's a community in Southeast Michigan that has a decision to make about books, whether or not to hold on to their publically funded library.
IPR recently met up with five kids, two families, one from the north, one from southern Michigan. Both are making the case for libraries.
A Safe Place
"I'm an introvert, so I like being at home. But when I'm in the library it's like another home for me. I think libraries are like another home," says Nadia Moehle, 11, of Beulah. As a home-school project, her family runs a blog called the Books for Walls Project.
She spends so much time in the stacks at Interlochen Public Library, they know her name. More than that, they know what she likes to read. And she gets personal book recommendations. She considers the librarians friends.
"The library, you can meet new people and be comfortable with yourself, and know that these people have something in common - that they also like books," she says.
This week at the library her family arranged a meeting with 12-year-old Rafael Yashinshy. He shares her passion.
More Than Books
"Some people think that, 'oh the library's just a big place with books.' But it's not. It's more than that. It's a place where people can go, read a good book, gain some knowledge and just sit down and have some quiet time."
Rafael likes action books. He's recommending The Fire Within by David Rain. The main character's a dragon.
His family's been spending more time at the library lately knowing that, in their community, it could close.
The Yashinsky's are on vacation. They're actually from Troy, in Southeast Michigan.
Free To All
"I don't want to buy books, I want to borrow them," says seven-year-old Elian Yashinsky. "Because then we won't have enough money to have a good vacation."
Funding for the Troy Public Library goes to a vote Tuesday. It's a local issue, mired in local politics - and in a time of lean public resources.
But the Moehles and the Yashinskys worry that a bigger threat to libraries may be looming. They wonder if people are starting to question the value of the library, just as some question the future of the printed page.
And that's why the Moehles, from way up north, have joined the Yashinsky's efforts to save Troy's library and to get that millage passed. They've been blogging about the Troy Public Library for month. They even went down for a visit earlier this year and they've donated money.
"What do you think, should we be the library faries?" Amy Daniels Moehle asks Nadia and younger sister Sonja.
"Yes!" they respond.
Nadia says: "If we could just, as soon as we walk into a library, they would stay open forever... that would be awesome!"
Nadia & Sonja Moehle interviewed all three Yashinsky kids. Find their report here.
WEB EXTRA: In 1971, the Troy Public Library asked famous authors, politicians and others to write letters to children about the value of a library. The complete collection is online. Find letters from Dr. Seuss, now former Governor Bill Milliken, and so many others.