Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An Elegy for the Library; New York Times, February 17, 2017

Mahesh, Rao, New York Times; 

An Elegy for the Library

"“Do you think the library is in danger of closing down?” I asked.

“No chance.”

The library has 28 branches around the city, in addition to a few reading rooms at community organizations. Ms. Poornima tells me each branch regularly orders books at readers’ request from the state’s central library system.

Computers are much too costly for many families. Even books remain out of reach. The library’s website lists “uninterrupted lighting” as one of its services — a real draw in a city that suffers from frequent power cutoffs. This is a place of refuge. It offers a respite from the heat, from office life, from noisy households, from all the irritations that crowd in.

It also offers the intangible entanglements of a common space. One of my favorite descriptions of the public library comes from the journalist and academic Sophie Mayer, who has called it “the ideal model of society, the best possible shared space,” because there “each person is pursuing their own aim (education, entertainment, affect, rest) with respect to others, through the best possible medium of the transmission of ideas, feelings and knowledge — the book.”"

No comments:

Post a Comment