Ever notice how some folks wrinkle their noses in perceptible scorn when the talk turns to libraries? They’re convinced that the spirit of the printed page is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.
Will you and I seek wisdom only in the cloud? Will libraries come to an end, like fins on cars and tubes in TVs? Will we remember the fabled church-like hush and what exactly those shelves were for?
I see libraries as powerful agents of community change. I don’t worry about them anymore.
I’m confident that we will still have buildings filled with print. And large public tables. And couches.
Libraries are vibrant hubs of comfortable, collaborative spaces. And full of services that aren’t limited to the virtual and physical walls of the building.
We are part of a society that consumes and spreads knowledge while socializing. And our libraries reflect this. Libraries today are about what they do for us. They are idea stores, not book warehouses.
You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapons in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!
~Doctor Who, “Tooth and Claw,” Season 2
Libraries aren’t just places for quiet study but creative and engaging community centers where people meet. There’s plenty of chatter in the stacks. And it’s encouraged. Oh, the bookmarks? They’re still free.
The slap-honest truth about libraries is that we need them. For study. For solitude. For human connection. For answering Big Questions. And little ones.
The power of my library, and yours, is the conversation it inspires ~ between books and readers, children and parents, us and the collective world. Seems to me that libraries have less to do with clouds than connecting. My library and its staff is thriving, energized, enthusiastic, and ever so valued. And they make us, patrons and volunteers, feel the same way.
Library attendance and use is cloud-piercing. How-to manuals and health magazines, audio books and antique guides, Bibles and biographies ~ my librarians stamp out so many books in a week, their hands blister. (OK, so my nostalgia is showing. That’s one for #TBT. I miss that stamp, don’t you?)
Index cards? Not so much. Not even here, in this lion-guarded haven.
Libraries feed our passion for information and self-improvement.
So be aware of what’s happening to them, just when we need them most. They’re easy targets for local budget cuts, duck soup compared to potholes, pipes, and high school marching bands. I’m thinking that it’s because what libraries give us is so intangible. How do you measure the worth of what someone gets from a book?
So, next time you’re at the library, borrow a book of recipes. Whip up something to share~ bagels or biscuits, brioche or baguettes, a pie or a pancake.