This is my final installment in California dreamin’. Next week, I return to the land of libraries, which is definitely not as glamorous. In fact, some would say that the idea of the public library is as antiquated as these old photos. I say not so fast.

Why do we enjoy looking at photos from the past? Because they remind us not only of how far we’ve come and how much has changed but they show us that what is now reminiscent of long ago was once very much the present. Libraries represent the past, the present, and stand ready to embody the future. They have withstood the test of time just like these old photos. Some of them may be faded and out of focus and in need of enhancement. However, libraries exist for a reason.

I write about libraries because working in them and for them has come to be my profession later in life. As an outsider–someone who has not been a regular, lifetime library user–what I’ve found is that this world (and some of the people in it) can be singularly focused, obtuse, and oblivious to anyone who doesn’t immediately understand the urgency of their mission.

But what I have also found is that these people, in this world, are steadfastly dedicated to an institution that they believe in. And it is their drive and focus that keeps the door open. Just like these old photos, libraries have value. I wouldn’t throw away these pictures just because they’re old. Their value is based, in part, in their age–it provides perspective.

Could be I’m stretching trying to make a connection between these photos and libraries. I know one thing for sure–we don’t throw away the past just because the present is different. We embrace the past, incorporate into the present, and use both to move forward into the future. That is something I think libraries are well-suited to do in each and every community.

And so, here it is–my final gallery of stars. Thanks for joining me in my California dream. Time to wake up and get my head out of the stars and back to earth. We should all shoot for the moon, though, every now and then. It is in the stretch that dreams are made.