So, more than anything, libraries need to develop as learning agencies, informal learning agencies that help build a sense of identity and community. We want people to engage their imaginations or their information or ideas. We want to become a place where people discuss and debate issues as well as find resources that are going to help them build knowledge and contribute to their communities.
It was the little things, the sudden absence of everyday fixtures, that disoriented residents in the Rockaways in the days after the storm, as much as the loss of house and home. The traffic lights had gone dark. Where was one to get a prescription filled? And oh, what about books due at the library?
The Rockaways still look like ghost towns. But the community libraries are there — if only in the form of a bus, parked in front of the gutted, muddy Peninsula branch. Days after the storm laid waste to four Queens Borough Public Library branches in the Rockaways, a colorful mobile library bus has hummed just outside its former location on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, offering warmth, power outlets, emergency information and books.
» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)
TROY: Why does being a librarian make her even hotter?
ABED: They're keepers of knowledge -- she holds the answers to all our questions like "Will you marry me?" and "Why are there still libraries?"
TROY: I want to be a book, she can pick me up flip through my pages, make sure no one drew wieners in me.
In the first news stories, the fact that Occupy Wall Street had a library seemed a bit whimsical, sort of like that iconic photo of a dancer perched on the back of the equally iconic statue of a charging bull. How funny! A library for a group that has no leaders and no rules? It seemed to some a contradiction in terms. Aren’t libraries all about rules and organization?
Well … no. Libraries are fundamentally about something quite different. It seems natural to me that a social movement that springs up locally and without any centralized organizing body or criteria for membership would create a library. This is an impulse so ingrained in the idea of books that people are creating tiny lending libraries to put in public places as signals that sharing books is an important act, something that creates community.
So the Occupy Wall Street movement quickly acquired a library-not because information is needed. What with Google, Twitter, Facebook, and various streaming video sites, the movement is awash in information. It’s more a way to define the community through a culturally meaningful form of sharing, a physical impulse to pass books from one hand to another. It’s what you do when you come together: you pool your books so that they can be browsed and shared. Sharing books is communal nourishment, like breaking bread.
— From Barbara Fister’s excellent essay on LibraryJournal.com, “Why the Occupy Wall Street Movement Has Libraries.”
Critics at Large: Far More Than Shushing and Checking Out Books: For the Love of Librarians and Public Libraries →
To put this plainly, librarians are surgeons with the Internet. They are specially trained to know how to find anything you need in cyberspace, how to locate the best answer and get it fast. They’re ready and waiting. They are the emergency-response personnel to all your information needs. Your public librarian is a wizard. Ask them anything – seriously, I dare you – they will find it. Following a strict code of ethics and confidentiality, we also promise not to tell all our friends (or our cats) what you asked either. On top of that, a librarian is also an educator. They are willing to share their powers and will also show you how to find almost anything on your own. Imagine.