Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

“Dear Boys and Girls: Congratulations on the new library, because it isn’t just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you — and most of all, a gateway to a better and happier and more useful life” 

Isaac Asimov, in a letter to the children of Troy, Michigan, before the opening of their first public library

This quote just made me smile as I imagined a group of children sitting on the floor of the library, cross-legged, faces shining, imaginations racing. How exciting to discover it wasn't really a library, but a spaceship!

Libraries are sometimes thought of as repositories or cold storage in a way; yet the idea of them being a time machine is so much better - it sparks the imagination that books can take you back in time and in history to see and discover what people were thinking, wearing and doing. Into the future we can explore possibilities and imagine a world so different from our own.

How amazing that a library could morph into a teacher and a friend as well.

I am still the number 1 fan of public libraries and all that they offer and hope that many more children get in to the time machine and travel with books to far-flung places and arrive home exhausted and exhilarated. I love that Isaac Asimov wanted children to understand that books and libraries can amuse and console; and be a gateway to a good life. Still true today.

Crusader by Nari Ward, 2005, Brooklyn Museum
The closest image I had to a space ship - time machine; a vehicle for the contemporary urban crusader!


  1. What a great tribute to the public library, where words - and worlds - are available to all!

  2. A library as a spaceship - I love it! A very interesting sculpture.

  3. Quite a quote.

    adn I imagined a person wandering the streets with nothing in the cart but these odd things - and thought what a whacy perfomance piece that would be. Rather than sitting still in a gallery - I mean, when one's got wheels, one can roll!

  4. love the sculpture you've chosen alongside the words. cheers!
    to public libraries!
    (i'm lucky enough to live half a block away from one)

  5. What nicely-put words about the wonder of libraries...Walking away from the library with stacks of books (or sometimes bags - our former library in the US allowed you to check out up to 50 books at a time!) is among the greatest pleasures of many ideas & possibilities just waiting to be discovered...Mmmm!
    Thanks for sharing...
    - Lisa

  6. Fiona, what a perfectly delightful quote and post that I am immersed in the working world of the public library (as opposed to academic library) I am more enamored than ever about the magic spaceship qualities they hold. I just participated in the book group discussion last night at the library where I work and am continually reminded how the library as place/spaceship is so important to people's lives! Bravo....and do love that sculptural work you've found as well!

  7. As a child I spent most of my spare time in the local library. It was all the above and more to me. A wonderful quote, Fiona.

  8. Good Grief I am so slack - apologies all!

    G/TT - a fabulous tribute isn't it?

    Kim - it was a ripper! We walked around and around it and just loved all the old you would too!

    So true Valerianna - it would be the perfect performance piece I think. Imagine it crossing Broadway somewhere or rolling down the main street of our country town - what a delight.

    Cheers indeed anca - I'm a huge fan!

    Thank you man suede - it is a brilliant piece.

    i love library Lisa - all that magic within it's wall, all the possibilities as you say, I salute them!

    Have fun in your own personal spaceship Patti - it will be great ride for sure.

    Jo - I love libraries. As a child, the worst punishment for not eating my vegetables was that I wouldn't be allowed to go to the library. That got me eating them I tell you.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.