Guest Article: Words on an important (researched) subject: Public Libraries by Jonathan Rose

A guest article by Jonathan Rose

For The Mayor and The Commission of Miami-Dade County:

“And even should the cloud of barbarism and despotism again obscure the science
and libraries of Europe, this country remains to preserve and restore light and liberty to them. . . .” [emphasis added]
Letter to John Adams
[September 12, 1821]

From an essay by Gautam Patel (lawyer from India) Public Libraries: The Soul of a Civilization

“[T] the heart of every city is defined by two things: the state of its public spaces, and the quality and condition of its public libraries. Indeed, a public library defines not only the city in which it sits, but the state of the society that created it. [emphasis added]
* * *
Public libraries represent an ideal, an idea of freedom and a commitment to its continuance. In modern times, perhaps the greatest commitment to public libraries (and, this cannot be coincidence either, university education) has been in America and England.
[emphasis added]
* * *
Cutting back on public spending on libraries is every bit as catastrophic and dangerous as burning or physical destruction, and far more insidious. [emphasis added]
* * *
But there is a deeper reason why we should all protest against the closures and cutbacks being forced on libraries. The loss of every library is not just the loss of a building or a warehouse of books. It represents a loss of knowledge, an abandonment of a commitment to education, growth, development and freedom. The loss of every library shrinks its society. Jorge Luis Borges imagined paradise to be “a kind of library”; great societies shave great public libraries, for nothing represents a more democratic commitment to the citizen than a public garden and a public library. [emphasis added]
[Entire article]
“Google may save time. Libraries save minds. There can never be enough emphasis added to the statement ‘Libraries save minds.’ ” [emphasis added]

by Jonathan Rose – July 4, 2014
Culture in the City