I had an 11-hour flight yesterday so I managed to polish off something called the Library Book (Profile Books). It’s a collection of short essays by people that are passionate about and wish to protect public libraries, including Julian Barnes, Caitlin Moran and Seth Godin. There wasn’t anything inside that I didn’t already know about in a sense, but it was good to have some key thoughts confirmed – such as not reducing the value of a library to the sum of the books on its shelves.
The book is full of good quotes but one I especially liked is this one by Caitlin Moran:
“A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold, rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen instead. A human with a brain and a heart and a desire to be uplifted, rather than a consumer with a credit card and an inchoate ‘need’ for ‘stuff’.
BTW, a fun aside was that the in-flight entertainment system broke down three times and some of the passengers almost had heart attacks at the thought of eleven hours with no access to a screen. What were they supposed to do? Should have brought a book I guess.
One final thought just in via email – a great list of 10 ways we can expect libraries to change in the future. Click right here (thanks Kaitlyn).