Acclaimed supernatural/fantasy author Neil Gaiman is easily our favorite advocate for public libraries.
Neil: I think, firstly, nobody is curating the information for you. Nobody is giving you a safe space. I used to love libraries at school. Because school libraries had an enforced quiet policy, which meant they tended to be bully-free zones. They were places where you could do your homework, you could do stuff, whether it was reading books, or getting on with things that you wanted to get on with, and know that you were safe there. And people responded to your enthusiasms. If you like a certain writer, or a certain genre, librarians love that. They love pointing you at things that you’ll also like. And that gets magical. If you like RA Lafferty, you’ll like Ursula Le Guin, you’ll like Tolkien. And there’s web access. I’ve talked to a lot of librarians, and one of the things that they do is help people who do not have web access. Most job applications, and a lot of information on benefits and things like that, are out on the web. We act as if a smartphone and internet access are now handed out at birth. But it’s simply not true. A lot of people don’t have web access.
Read the full interview with Gaiman, discussing the vital role of libraries in society, their influence upon him as a writer and the dire need to keep libraries, all libraries, open and accessible to the public. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/17/neil-gaiman-libraries-are-cultural-seed-corn
While we’re speaking in the name of libraries…
“The current Congress has the opportunity to prove to the American people that their freedom from broad surveillance by their own government matters more than political posturing. Libraries have been fighting for USA PATRIOT Act reform for 13 years. It’s time, way past time, to finally vote on and pass Senator Patrick Leahy’s bipartisan, intelligence community-backed USA Freedom Act without weakening its already modest protections for the public. ALA is calling on every librarian and library supporter in America to send that message loudly and clearly to every Member of Congress.”
Read more here: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2014/11/america-s-libraries-push-passage-usa-freedom-act