Friday, November 18, 2011

On the importance of libraries

A few weeks ago I visited the People’s Library in Zuccotti Park, the once and perhaps future headquarters of the Occupy Wall Street movement in NYC. I was impressed by how well organized the library was and that it included a children’s section. To me the existence of the library serves as evidence of the need every thinking person has for the ideas, comfort, and diversion provided by books, regardless of their circumstances.

On Wednesday the city cleared the park and took away the books. But this movement’s commitment to a library persists and yesterday the library went mobile, as group members wheeled shopping carts filled with books through lower Manhattan and intermittently set up offerings for protestors. For more on The People’s Library, supporters of the group, and photos from yesterday’s Day of Action,visit the"official" library blog. Laura, a librarian-in-training, who blogs at wmtc, offers another perspective and more detail on the philosophy behind the library here.  William Scott, an associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh who spent his sabbatical working in the library, describes his experience in this issue of The Nation. (Thanks to CA for bringing the article to my attention.)

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