This quote by Jorge Luis Borges is rather perfect for this week: National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association, and it is April 9-15 this year. The theme is “Libraries Transform.” Libraries have gone through their own transformation in the digital age — it’s not just books anymore. Libraries provide everything from internet access and computer classes to film screenings and classes on cooking and exercise.
Just seeing a library is enough to inspire me, whether it is one of the creative Little Free Libraries or the Library of Congress. Libraries have always been magical places that make me want to be better and know more, and I feel so lucky to be a part of one. But you are a part of one, too, even if you didn’t know it! This library belongs to all of us!
“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in a desert.” – Andrew Carnegie
Thumbing through “The Public Library” it’s apparent that not every library building is inspiring on the outside, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing inspiring on the inside. As Bill Moyers says in the introduction, libraries matter as places to take refuge, places to recharge both literally and figuratively, places of camaraderie, and places discovery. He says, “when a library is open, no matter its size or shape, democracy is open too.” This book also includes commentary by Anne Lamott, Barbara Kingsolver, Philip Levine, Amy Tan and many others, plus an afterward by Ann Patchett.
“The thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” – Albert Einstein
Librarians (I wish I could claim the title but I can’t) are some of the most dedicated people I know. If you would like to learn just how dedicated they can be try reading “The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu – And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts” by Joshua Hammer. When Al-Qaeda took over in Timbuktu, Abdel Kader Haidara convinced a group of librarians to smuggle the manuscripts that he had painstakingly collected out to Mali. It was a real life high-suspense rescue mission.
“What’s more important in a library than anything else – than everything else – is the fact that it exists.” – Archibald Macleish
You can check out this list if you would like to read more books, both non-fiction and fiction, about libraries and librarians.
“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.” – T.S. Eliot