In Our Own Words

Ernest Hebert
Campaign Honorary Chair
Ernie Hebert grew up to become an acclaimed novelist and Dartmouth professor. We are so pleased that he has agreed to serve as honorary chair for this campaign.

For over a hundred years community members have loved the Keene Public Library. From children checking out books by the armful to teens exploring graphic novels to seniors getting help with new technology. The KPL has impacted the lives of thousands of citizens.

One of the children in which the Keene Public Library made an important difference is Ernie Hebert. In the 1950’s and 60’s Ernie came from a home of loving and hardworking parents – but no books or intellectual stimulation. He writes:

“The first thing I remember about the Keene Public Library as a boy is that nobody said “don’t.” I wandered the stacks looking for… what? Well, I didn’t know. I kept waiting to be admonished, but it never happened. The result is that I began to think of the library as a sanctuary.

In my wanderings I discovered The Swiss Family Robinson. I remember opening it up in the middle and finding that one of the characters had my name. Over the course of many days I read the entire book sitting on the floor of the library in front of the shelf where the book was stacked. During that rather extended time period nobody said “don’t.”

That began a lifetime habit of reading – and in a particular way. I still like to wander around book stacks – in libraries, in book stores, especially stores of used books, like Eagle Books on West Street, and even in people’s houses. I still prefer the books I discover to the ones recommended to me by well-meaning friends. I still sit on the floor in front of the shelf when I find a book that interests me. And I believe that places that house books should be sanctuaries for all.”

More Stories~

“I remember coming to the KPL in the early 1970’s…”-kpl-story-anonymous

Tell us your KPL Story. Let us know how it has made a difference in your life or the lives of those around you.  Click on the link and print and share your story with us! Your KPL Story