Libraries as cultivators

February 14, 2012

I really liked this recent quote by Ban Ki-moon:

A library is not just a building full of books.   It is a garden to cultivate individuals.  ~Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, at a January 30 ceremony establishing a school library in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, UN News Centre, Jan. 31.

This is a nice analogy to me–each piece of information that you read (via print or online) adds nutrients towards an expanded and knowledge-filled mind.  Of course, there is fertilizer in there, too (some good, some bad)!

Growing up, I lived for reading (actually, it is true even now).  The most exciting thing was a new discovery of a situation or a fact that I previously did not know.  I remember having my consciousness opened to varied experiences and devastating world events just through reading about them.

Most of us do not have the money, time, or ability to truly learn about our world.  Think of all those who do not have access to any information, print or otherwise.  These individuals spend their days surviving and living in what they know.  However, change does not happen without learning OUTSIDE of your experiences.  Once you learn more about the world, you can make positive changes to it.  Making an effort to understand the underlying causes of the world’s problems brings people together, whether or not they agree on the solutions.

Libraries, with their plethora of information access, offer to everyone the seeds to a garden of knowledge.  Librarians make an attempt to offer a large variety of information to their public, regardless of personal or political convictions. 

Libraries offer individuals the ability to read about both things that interest them, or things that make them uncomfortable.  Libraries (and books) provide an escape, inform, guide, teach, and yes, cultivate.

What a wonderful thing!

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