Friday, July 23, 2010

"The Importance of a Library as a Real Place"

Thanks to Joan Wickersham for today's required reading.

Link to July 23 Boston Globe hyperlocal news, "A library tells a story of its own".

Excerpt:   There's A wonderful line in Proust when the narrator’s grandmother, describing the steeple of the local church, says, “If it could play the piano, I am sure it would really play.’’ Some buildings are like that: they have a personality that goes beyond mere function and physical appearance. If you met the Malden Public Library at a party, you would come away feeling that you’d met an eloquent character who really knows how to tell a story. The library would tell you a lot about what America was like and how it has changed. It would speak about the history of architecture and art, of industrialism and philanthropy, of immigration, of economics, of literature and technology. And it would tell you about the hard choices that go into running a popular public institution in changing times.


At a time when information is digitized, when the internet makes everything virtual, when the future of libraries and books is fiercely debated, this encounter with the Malden Public Library is a reminder of the importance of the library as a real place. A library isn’t just one place, it is many places, with many stories, many meanings, and many possibilities for the future.

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