Libraries As Complicated Places

Libraries are lovely, complicated places. We abandon and demolish libraries. But we also place them in odd places to make books and literacy more accessible.

The Mark Twain branch of the Detroit Public Library system was opened in 1940 and abandoned in the 1990s. Its tale follows the boom and bust of Detroit closely. Like any institution dependent on the public for funding, if the public is hurting, so too will the library.

And then there's the more deliberate demolition of libraries to make way for parking garages. The sad tale of the  Public Library of Cincinnati - once a magnificent structure:

Demolished for this:

The lyrics, "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot..." come to mind here. While these tales are not unique, there are also parts of the library world that make a librarian's heart swell. The unconventional libraries that pop up to help create an informed citizenry. This is my favorite example:

One of the things that I love about libraries is that they are as complicated as society itself. Libraries reflect the best and worst of society. The anti-intellectual as well as the search for knowledge. They certainly are complicated, lovely places.


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