"After all, what laws can be laid down about books? ... To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions -- there we have none."
Virginia Woolf, The Second Common Reader
How do we know what we know? Who determines what we see, read, hear, speak and experience? What is the relationship between “an informed citizenry” and free and open access to culture, art, scholarship, journalism and ideas? How do public libraries promote intellectual freedom, defend against censorship, preserve our uniquely American heritage, and shape our democratic identity? "You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who ever had been alive."
Join me in exploring the civic institution of libraries, where minds are cultivated, hearts enriched, souls nourished, and communities strengthened. Let's read for the joy of diving into other lives and worlds and times, immersed in the wondrous music of language.
Who knows what we may discover?