Sexy Libraries In Your Area Want You To Visit Them!
LIBRARIES RULE! In this conversation with an actual librarian, who isn’t nearly as satanic as his twitter name implies, we explore the reasons why libraries are fucking awesome.
BS: Libraries have changed since I was a kid, visiting them “on the reg”, as the kids now say…libraries used to be almost an extension of healthcare, education, the church…do you feel like that’s still happening, or maybe not in ways you’d like?
Dude, do you even like your job, is another question…
SL: Yes it’s still happening. I spend most of my day helping people with services, navigating the world, etc…
I do. I love my job 🙂 usually….
BS: I’m triumphantly happy that you love it.
You’re helping people find and put the puzzle pieces together; it’s glorious alchemy for the soul. Or maybe I’m being dramatic.
SL: No thats a beautiful way to put it and makes me feel special.
BS: The internet, and more specifically google and wikipedia, have added to the perceived notion that libraries are becoming irrelevant.
As a librarian, you clearly disagree with the notion of becoming obsolete, and I’d like you to tell me your personal reasons:
Why are librarians and in fact the physical spaces of libraries important?
SL: The idea that the internet is accessible to everyone, either physically or in a sense of a skillset to use it, is false and often privileged.
Many people still don’t have personal computers or are not from a generation or have the time/means to be “internet savvy”.
Meanwhile, you basically have to apply for any job online now, or have to have an email address to get public services etc.
Also, libraries are some of the last public spaces that exist.
We are safe zones for after school, for immigrants, homeless, job seekers.
We are often the first place people go.
Also, our usage increased during the recession while funding went down.
Philosophically, we exist for hard times as safe spaces, springboards, free education, free entertainment, knowledge spaces, employment help.
I have had many people specifically come in to tell me I was instrumental in helping them get a job they needed.
BS: At least in Canada, under our last ‘leadershit’ (so many examples, just google ‘Stephen Harper libraries’; but here’s one), libraries came under an almost hostile state of being obliterated. What function do you feel libraries will continue to serve in the future, against totalitarian-style governments imposing their belief systems that books equal knowledge and knowledge equals power and power means they won’t get voted for again…
SL: Well we have been some of the only institutions to protect personal privacy. For profit phone companies certainly did not.
BS: Oh that’s a great point. OK so regarding this protection of personal privacy, can you discuss what you mean by this, and what steps libraries take in this regard?
SL: We dont save patron borrowing history. It’s nobody’s business but their own.
BS: That is totally punk rock! Tell me other ways libraries fucking rule in your opinion.
SL: Free access to free information.
We don’t do anything we do for profit, so incorruptible.
We celebrate knowledge and learning.
BS: As a librarian, what do you find to be the hugest challenge with respects to dealing with the general public?
SL: Deciphering what the information need really is,
and finding ways to remain current with modern needs despite diminishing budgets.
BS: Why are budgets diminishing?
SL: People think libraries are obsolete;
Libraries are easy to cut.
Libraries are sexy.
BS: You help people find knowledge! That shit is like superhero sexy. Thank you for helping save our minds by preserving knowledge and freedom:)