Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Impassioned Defense of Libraries

My analysis of Pied's defense of libraries elicited a very inciteful comment from a reader, Carla (I have readers, who knew?), who as a librarian provides a very thoughtful defense of libraries and in her view their continued relevance. Here is an excerpt from her comment:
"Libraries have community spaces for business meetings, potlucks and book clubs. A children's storytime hour can captivate a child's imagination and get them hooked on books for a lifetime. Libraries are places where artists can exhibit their work. They provide instruction on how to use a mouse, getting started with email, understanding the web, ESL, photoshop and other software, how to write a resume and look for a job, homework help and tutoring for kids and adults in English, math, GED, citizenship test prep, tax prep... I could go on and on. Libraries level the playing field for their users. The rich and poor alike have the exact same access to information and services. Where else does an organization or institution offer equal access to everything?"
One of the interesting things here is that Carla, correct me if I am wrong, seems to be putting a great deal of emphasis on the libraries function as a community center but also as having a role in fostering social equality. The other thing that is interesting to me is the extent to which Carla portrays the public library as this entrepenurial organization that has keyed its efforts in large part on assisting the underserved. These are two points that I really hadn't considered. Anyhow, please do read her comment in full.

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