Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg: My happiest memories

"Most of my education was in the library - not class."

Well the Detroit Public Library was my home during the summer pretty much. I say summer because during the year, when I was going to grade school, I only went to school half days because my mother got me off to play piano.

In summer I could not only play for hours a day, but I had time to read as well. I started with "Beau Geste" by Percival  Christopher Wren. I read all of P. G. Wodehouse, these were light books, in effect. I read all of Leslie Charteris' "The Saint," adventure books, basically or humor. I would be one or two a day, get through them in a summer.

So those are among my happiest memories.

Of course then in college the library was my education. I did not only the required reading for my courses, economics courses mainly, but I did all the recommended reading,and I would got in the shelves and I would read all the other stuff, so Lamont Library then later, Widener Library again was my home. 

There's no question that most of my education is in the library, not in class.

Certainly libraries remain one of the most leveling in the way of mass education. Our country was really built on the ability of people to go to public libraries and educate themselves. To a large extent, people either didn't go to school, or continued school, or who weren't getting as much as they needed from the school, got it from the libraries.

And I remember our school libraries very well, too. Hardly anything is better. That's where the major education comes, I would say, in my experience, rather than class room.

Public education, in general, has suffered enormously since I was in public school and grade school, and libraries in particular. And I'm very sad that in my own neighborhood... So I would use the Kensington Library in North Berkeley a lot more if it were open everyday instead of only a few days week, which I regard as a very sad commentary on our whole society.  

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Book Title: 

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Library Name: 

Detroit Public Library