Friday, June 22, 2012

The Public Library

The public library provides an important social and cultural function in any community. It's a gathering place, a repository of knowledge, a provider of services, and always best when staffed with fairly paid library and information specialists. A library is most often also a safe haven, a sort of cultured oasis. Certainly every library I can remember has been like that.

In my greater family, we've always had a lot of books to read and peruse, so I've never felt compelled to check out many books at any one time. But the public library -- and school and college library -- was and is a place for exploration and solitude, too. There's usually a lot of history attached to any library, either via archival and special collections or in the building's setting.

Above is pictured the remarkable Shepherdstown Public Library in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The core of the building dates back to 1800, when it was the Shepherd's Town, Virginia, market building; the upper part was added by the local Odd Fellows before the US-Mexican War (hence the strange symbols adorning the front face). After the Battle of Antietam in 1862, it served as a hospital. West Virginia became a state, breaking away from Virginia in 1863. Finally, in 1921, the building became a library. Not every public library can have such a storied past, but all are worth supporting.

Today's Rune: Separation (Reversed).


Johnny Yen said...

When my son was in first grade, he was "Student of the Week," and one of the canned questioned on the form he filled out for it was "Favorite Belongings." His response: "My Books."

When my family moved out of the city, one of the suburbs we lived in was a tight-ass hyper-Republican one called Western Springs. My refuge there (besides becoming a runner) was the town's public library, the Thomas Ford Memorial Library, which was (and is) in a beautiful old greystone building with a slate roof. It was there that I began a serious love affair with history and left-leaning thinking-- one of the magazines they stocked was The Progressive. I really don't know what I would have done without that place.

Charles Gramlich said...

Amen, brother. I'm always down with supporting our libraries.

the walking man said...

Erik did you see this...great stuff

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks all, for the comments ~!

JY, huzzah! Liberty springs from the library. . .

CG ~ cheers ~!

WM, great video, indeed. Very cool and 'enlightening.'