Libraries – The Soul of Civilization

There is a group of people who honestly think that no one uses libraries anymore and they are a waste of tax dollars.

These people obviously don’t use libraries.  They therefore assume that no one does.

They are wrong.

They also don’t understand the function of a library.

They think libraries are places where people borrow books.  Because they either don’t read or buy their books, they assume there is no need for libraries.  They have never looked beyond their own noses.

Well, as someone who does use the library – I strongly disagree.  And I do use it to borrow books for my entertainment reading.  But that use only represents PART of a library.

A Library is a place where we accumulate knowledge.  Free, accessible knowledge.  We all like to brag about how the internet is just a huge repository of knowledge.  But NOT REALLY.  A lot of that knowledge is hidden behind paywalls.  It’s hidden behind search algorithms.  It’s not indexed.  It’s buried under mounds of useless or erroneous facts.

But at a library, someone has collected, thoughtfully indexed and cataloged all the knowledge.  And then they give you free access and assistance in using it.

Scholars don’t own all the reference material they use in their researches.  They go to the Library.

Libraries are also community centers.  Places that encourage the best in us.  They encourage reading in children.  They encourage sharing and responsibility through borrowing programs.  Libraries are an important part of how we teach children in a practical manner how to manage as adults.

Libraries are also useful in lending other things besides books.  They already have a system set up.  So many libraries have expanded their inventory to include things as diverse as:

  • animal skeletons for learning.
  • snow shovels and sleds
  • Santa Suits
  • prom dresses and tuxes.
  • tools
  • cake pans and related items
  • Halloween costumes
  • toys
  • musical instruments
  • museum and park passes

Libraries are places where we can offer inclusion through sharing.  They are the very soul of what makes civilization.  We cannot let them die because people who have sufficient money to spend on things they don’t reuse don’t think they are important.  We cannot let them die because people who think that information is magic on their screens have never considered how it gets there or how people who research this information actually found it.

Libraries matter.  Don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise.


7 thoughts on “Libraries – The Soul of Civilization

  1. They are incredibly important and provide far more services than a lot of people realize. a lot of employers now only accept job applications via the web, but if you’re jobless, perhaps even homeless, don’t even have a computer or internet access, libraries are the places to go. They’ve become a lifeline for people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to the net for job applications, email, etc. They run special programs for kids, have literacy classes for people of all ages.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was helpful to read. What many so-called “fiscal conservatives” don’t realize (or refuse to hear) is that when the economy turns, library usage skyrockets. As Grouchyfarmer correctly points out, it’s the one community resource that offers help for those looking for work. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

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