Libraries Will Save the World (if we let them)

When I attended the Eureka! Institute we gave a presentation at the end about innovative ideas in libraries. Our group had a whole bunch of them and I presented them. The response was “it seems like your trying to save the world.” I kept my mouth shut, but what I thought was “Well… Yeah, we are!” I mean, I am obviously biased, but the intense amount of good that a library does is why I got into librarianship in the first place. Anyway, the reason I’m writing this is that I have once again found that libraries are one of the only institutions that can save the world.

I was watching a Ted presentation by Tim Jackson called Tim Jackson’s Economic Reality Check. While I totally agree with so much of what he says and am so excited to throw away my stuff and move aboard my boat for a couple months (Henry David Thoreau) I am more impressed with his statements at the end of his presentation. These statements make it perfectly clear that libraries, once again, are going to be the savior of humanity. But only if librarians allow them to be.

Basically, it comes down to people’s ability to achieve a new kind of fulfillment beyond material goods. We need to begin to not only provide the information to allow people to fulfill the needs in their life, but we also need to provide the materials they need. After all, what good is a book if you don’t have the resources to learn from them? I’m suggesting that these materials are our collections beyond books. Things like seeds, guitars, tools, video games, and maybe even augmented reality. But, as a great man once said, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”



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