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The Library as a Sacred Place: To Survive with Dreams

July 8, 2014       On Higher Ground
The Library as
a Sacred Place

Libraries Today, Going, Going, Gone...

Governments in the west, especially in the U.S., are cutting local budgets so severely that community libraries are the first to shut down. Not only that, it has been reported recently that one community library was seriously criticized for literally throwing away 250,000 books a month to pave way for new inventory. A nation is no longer great when this sort of thing happens.  Education does not stop the day you finish formal schooling.

They even say that knowledge via formal schooling has its own Moore's law and it becomes dated and often obsolete every 6 years. Having good libraries won't make that happen.  Keeping and sustaining a good library, whether by physical book collections or electronic data storage facilities is a sacred trust for the powers-that-be. Or for anyone capable of helping out.  We need libraries for people to live and survive with dreams.  A library is a like a church where anyone can indulge in the enjoyment of reading.  Where they can find information and learn for free. Knowing better by reading at a library. Also having the chance to share ideas with other good people too.

Will You Survive without a Library?

In the former Soviet Union, as reported in a Time magazine feature in the 90s, an enterprising couple, who bought tons of used books and library discards in the west for resale in Russia, got a tremendous response from citizens starved for knowledge and new ideas. One old woman who was browsing their store. actually wept when she asked if she could buy a book and was told she could pick any title she wanted. All knowledge in that former nation was built on a house of lies and dogma, so be wary if anyone or anything starts to resemble abomination.

For any reader hungry for innovation and freedom, a worn-out idea isn't worn out to them, because it might be something that can make things better. Libraries, collections of books made available to the public for reading keep a reading people aware and knowing.
Libraries allow the disenfranchised to gain back freedom by finding opportunities.  Like for those unable to have online access, they can go online for free on public computers in the library. And search for jobs anywhere, locally or overseas for a better chance at life.  Reading gives the lay person an equal chance in life: to improve his learning and make a change as much as someone who can afford a formal education.

People who read learn how to make things better.  For those inspired by reading, they begin to learn that situations don't need to be what they are and they can change things and make them really good. From a gamefowl breeder looking to learn about animal genetics, to a child figuring our how to do something for himself. Make it different and smarter via using knowledge that can be found in books in a library.

The Magic of Libraries

Neil Gaiman, a fan-favorite writer of comic books and prose stylist dark fiction author has a speech published in The Guardian about why libraries matter: "Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming." It has some of the best arguments for anyone who can understand that books and libraries keep communities intact and fluorishing.

Reading make-believe stories hooks anyone into a reading habit. You read a book, like the story, then look for more good reading. In the process, you learn in the way old teachers taught younger folk, through story. Everything else in learning and education builds on that simple technology of any library. Not all people love reading, but for those who do, they have a better chance of enjoying life more fully.  People who do not love reading have a more finite existence than those who do.  Reading advocacies help get kids from  11-24 year olds to enjoy reading. Research shows that for 16 year olds, reading for pleasure has been proven to enable kids to secure better jobs. Outdated skills can be improved via reading and getting free knowledge in a library.

A private library room in a home designed by Gianni Botsford,
in Cahuita, Costa Rica

From Neil Gaiman's speech:

"I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It's simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls."

The library is a sacred place for us to keep alive for the sake of our own survival.  Support one. Buy the best library discard books you can find as libraries keep books in the best condition even when they are taken out of circulation. 

Then keep and build a personal library with the best books you can manage to hunt down.

Best treasure hoard ever.


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