Libraries are places – they may be a shelf in a classroom or a grand memorial to a grateful grad, the hub of a medical center or an adjunct to the public square. It is those who envision the possibilities and shape the role of a library that make a difference.
As keepers of the record librarians have long embraced the challenge to expand access to facts and ideas. In modern times libraries in this democracy, have been quick to resist suppression of information and ideas – as well as other offenses to democratic principles that tend to rile – and inspire – librarians.
No wonder that, in this era of alternative facts and determined truth seekers, I’m thinking of the heritage of libraries. Recognition of University of Minnesota Libraries Day earlier this month prompted me to learn more about the ways in which today’s libraries and librarians are coping. (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4004&action=edit)
My thoughts prompted me to remember a cluster of library-related blog posts that my friend Jack Becker of Forecast Public Art had sent me some weeks ago. These are all stories that celebrate the library as a place with a voice – a voice that must speak truth to power. This armchair tour features amazing libraries that dare to capitalize on the power they have to inform and lead.
- Defiant democracy – Parthenon Replica made of 100,000 banned books; http://weburbanist.com/2017/07/07/defiant-democracy-parthenon-replica-made-of-100000-banned-books/
- Real underground art secret sculptural installations below paris; http://weburbanist.com/2016/05/13/real-underground-art-secret-sculptural-installations-below-paris/
- Blank books project is rebuilding burned library in Baghdad; http://weburbanist.com/2016/05/12/blank-books-project-is-rebuilding-burned-library-in-baghdad/
- Little & Local: Staircase Cinema & Sidewalk Library Projects Wrapped & Twisted Book Sculpture by Jacqueline Rush Lee; http://weburbanist.com/2013/06/25/little-local-staircase-cinema-sidewalk-library-projects
Though these magnificent examples of resistance may be a bit beyond the local library’s resources, it is nonetheless a fact that libraries across the country are speaking in a “socially acceptable” voice to support the right to know and the right to speak. For examples, just Google “libraries resistance 2017.”
Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation. Walter Cronkite