Thinking About Libraries

The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.  (Carl T. Rowan)

A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life.  (Norman Cousins)

I discovered me in the library.  I went to find me in the library.  (Ray Bradbury)

A library is thought in cold storage.  (Herbert Samuel)

I go into my library and all history unrolls before me.  (Alexander Smith)

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.  (Albert Einstein)

The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy, and community.  (Paula Poundstone)

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Lottery Winnings and Museum Renovations

The Houston Memorial Library is located in Athens, Alabama.  The house was owned by George Houston, a former governor of the state of Alabama.  George Houston died in 1879,  and the Houston family donated the property to the city of Athens, with the stipulation that it be used as a library/museum.

However, over the years the building deteriorated and the city failed to complete the required maintenance to keep the facility functional.  In 2016, the city indefinitely closed the museum for renovations.

It breaks my heart to see this building in such a deplorable state.  All those historical documents, old books, and antiques are locked inside the building.  The building is full of items with educational and cultural value, but it’s all just rotting away.

If I won the lottery, I would buy that building and have it fully restored.  I would open it back up for the public to use and have activities for children, so they can learn to appreciate the value of museums and libraries.

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The Academic Book of the Future

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The cover of this book does not do it justice.  I enjoyed reading it and found it to be interesting as well as educational.

Here are a few quotes that highlight the main points:

  • Books matter.  They contain knowledge, and knowledge, as the saying goes is power.
  • Books are matter: they are containers, crucibles, confrontations.  They can teach, guide, inspire, soothe, and agitate.
  • Google is becoming the most-used research channel.  In such context, national libraries will be pivotal for their preservation role, with researchers access being provided through other channels.
  • The meaning of the word ‘book’ itself will change forever and will never again be confined to that of a physical object to be held, admired, loved, subject to spilt coffee or burning by dictators.  The ‘book’ will be defined more around its function than any of its characteristics.
  • Academic books can deeply affect the ways that human beings perceive the world and interact with one another, playing an important role in cultural change.