“My father was the keeper of the temple of knowledge.”

Ronald Clark & Jamilah Clark

For avid readers, or even the avidly curious, spending a night in a library would be a dream come true. Growing up, Ronald Clark spent every night in one. That’s because his father worked as custodian of a Washington Heights branch of the New York Public Library.

In those days, many custodians lived with their families there on library property, in exchange for keeping it clean and maintained, and secure at night. That gave a young Ronald first-hand access to two things: The pride his father took in polishing the library to a gleam, and to the books themselves, right at his fingertips.

Ronald came to StoryCorps with his daughter, Jamilah, to remember how his father’s work and the family’s lifestyle shaped the scholarly man he would become.

Listen to Ronald and Jamilah’s original StoryCorps interview.

Para subtítulos en español, haga click en el ícono de YouTube en la esquina derecha, y escoja “Spanish” bajo la opción de “settings” y “subtitles/CC.