A few days ago I shared a story about Ms. Carla Hayden being appointed as the new LoC director. I read several articles about the things she did at her previous library in Boston. She saw the importance technology could and would play in the library and took steps to make technology available. That spirit has been lacking at the LoC for some time. She understands the importance of giving people acess to knowledge via the public library.
A library is more than a building with books, computers, movies, and other stuff. A library houses a treasure of knowledge, and knowledge once gained can not be taken from you easily. They also are a way for people to connect. I smile over the image of students talking and the stern librarian shushing them. However the connection I mean is when a person today reads a sonnet by Shakespeare, they form a connection to the Baird himself, and every person that ever has or ever will read those same words. Knowledge is power, but so too is that connection joining past, present and future. Without libraries, I shudder to imagine what our world would become, education becomes unacessable and only for the elite. The populus would be doomed to a life of servitude dependent upon the educated.
Remember it has only been within the last 600 years that books became affordable and more prevelant. Before the Gutenberg Press in 1440, books were copied by hand and kept in private libraries, mostly church libraries at that. Knowledge was tightly controled by the both The Church and the aerostracy. With the creation of Gutenberg’s press, knowlege exploded into mainstream life. This was the beginning of our modern society. Think of all the books you have read through the years, those books wouldn’t have been possible without the Gutenberg Press.
Some food for thought the next time you pass your local library. Step inside and see the treasures within you may have missed. Cheers, james