Libraries are my favourite public institution. Where else can you go and borrow hundreds of dollars worth of goods, for free? Proof of a home address, and a tacit agreement to return the property, and out the door you go with your selection of goodies.
Libraries have been around since man first started making records on clay tablets. Yes, you can argue that a room full of clay tablets is just a stone age filing cabinet. But still, the idea of keeping records all together in one place goes back three thousand years BC. Heck of a long time.
In this internet age, libraries may seem a little old fashioned. Why bother going to the library when you can google anything you want to know, download any book?
True, there is convenience to keyboarding your questions, but wikipedia and google cannot replace the experience of wandering through stacks and stacks of books. There is something magical about having your eye drawn at random to a book that turns out to be the perfect read –exactly what you needed at that point in time. Or to search through the stacks, following the good old Dewey Decimal System to find that specific gem of a book you need to finish your research paper.
There are no algorithms to interfere with your search at the bricks and mortar of your local library. You are your own filter.
Not to mention, modern libraries have evolved into bustling, busy community centres offering all manner of programming.
All for free.
The image this week is from wikipedia’s article on the ancient library at Alexandria. (I know, ironic, right?)
This week’s episode of Contentment is for Cows has been posted. It’s free too.
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