Thursday, February 17, 2011

Medicine for the Soul

...that's the inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes - established 1250 B.C.

Soul medicine is something we could all use a little bit more of, and the libraries that can provide it have been valued by civilized communities for more than 3,000 years. Yet, in this time of governmental budget crises, we seem to be in real danger of losing access to it.

Libraries and library systems throughout Illinois, and beyond, have faced significant budget cuts on local, state, and federal levels. Just this week, U. S. Representative Scott Garrett (R - NJ) introduced
Amendment #35 to the Continuing Resolution to the FY2011 budget, which would have eliminated "all funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, including funding for the Library Services and Technology Act, the primary source of federal dollars to libraries." The American Library Association and concerned library supporters across the nation helped defeat the amendment.

Concern over the fate of libraries has inspired impassioned appeals from the ranks of the bestsellers, as well.

"A library within a community stands as a testimonial to its values, its belief in universal access to literature and knowledge." Scott Turow, bestselling author of Innocent and Presumed Innocent, and the president of the Authors' Guild, recently wrote that in his article, Let-Them-Eat-Cake Attitude Threatens to Destroy a Network of Public Assets, published February 15, in The Huffington Post.

Please, click on the title of the article and read it for yourself. His eloquence stands best on it's own merit.

In that vein, here are more powerful words in support of libraries:

The richest person in the world - in fact all the riches in the world - couldn't provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.
~Malcolm Forbes

And even should the cloud of barbarism a
nd despotism again obscure the science and libraries of Europe, this country remains to preserve and restore light and liberty to them. ~Thomas Jefferson

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration. ~Andrew Carnegie

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The on
ly entrance requirement is interest. ~Lady Bird Johnson


Linda K. said...

As a library patron for most of my life I cringe whenever I hear or read of people in power who think nothing of cutting funding or even closing our libraries completely. (I believe some of our own board members feel this way and hopefully we can do something to convince them otherwise.) Libraries mean civilization. Enhance them. Don't destroy them. They do indeed feed the soul.

Laura A. said...

Great post, Lynne! And I want to add just one more quote, from Keith Richards, who spoke at the New York Public Library last year when his book was published:

"When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is the great equalizer."

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