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As a little girl newly arrived in America, I couldn't wait for the Saturday afternoons when my mother and I would board the subway near our home in Brooklyn for our weekly outing to the Donnell branch of the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan. It was our favorite corner of New York. Public libraries have always embraced immigrants. Especially in a strange, expensive city, where so much seems off-limits, they are among the few enclaves that take in newcomers, no questions asked. And for those who can't afford to buy books -- and many immigrants cannot -- they can offer a better education than any school.