“I have no question.”

by Holly Schaffer, Community Relations Manager

For most people who write our Ask a Librarian service, they have a question. Not Leonardo López. In April 2023, staff received an email from Mr. López that began, “I have no question.” Rather, he was writing to share with us how the library changed his life 53 years ago in 1971.

In the email, he said:

I have no question. I was inspired by an NPR story about local libraries and their worth to their communities. From 1970 to 1971, I was in the Peace Corps in Venezuela. I returned to Tucson in late 1971 to join the local band The Dusty Chaps as the drummer.

After I had found a place to live, I walked to the nearest branch of the public library. On getting to the library, and applying for a library card, I had the good fortune to meet a librarian. She took it upon herself, after I had asked a few questions, to sit down with me and go over books that I might want to, or should, read. She compiled a list of about 100 books that, in her opinion, a well-rounded person should have read after high school. I'm proud to say that I did read 85-90 of the books on her list, including those by Herman Hesse, Aldous Huxley, J. D. Salinger as well as The Great Gatsy and Catch 22.  She also introduced me to Greek and Roman philosophy and science fiction written by Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov.

My interest in books came directly from that one librarian who sat down with me and showed me patience

VERY BELATEDLY, I want to say from the bottom of my heart ¡muchísimas gracias! / Thank you very much! I haven't stopped reading.

I spoke to Leonardo on the phone briefly after he sent this email and he shared a story that I want to share with you, dear readers.

In 1980, he received degrees in education and Spanish. He moved to Virginia where he taught and coached wrestling, football, track and field, and played in some amazing local bands.

At one point in his long teaching career, one of his students, Kristin, asked him if he had ever read the Twilight books. According to Leonardo, he responded with a resounding no. She replied, “Mr. Lopez, you always tell us to have an open mind about books. You tell us what to read and we read it. You’re not practicing what you preach. Will you read Twilight?”

Kristin loaned him her copy of Twilight. There was an out-of-town football game that evening. He opened the book and read on the bus there, during game breaks, and on the ride home. He spent the weekend reading. On Monday morning, the student asked him, “Did you read the book?” Leonardo told her no. He waited a moment and then said, “I didn’t read the book. I read all four books in the series. And I loved them.”

The student beamed, and Leonardo said, “You have reminded me to never have a closed mind about books. Thank you for that.”