ALA Annual 2019 – Hayden, Klinenberg on Libraries, Radical Inclusiveness

ALA Annual 2019 – Hayden, Klinenberg on Libraries, Radical Inclusiveness


I have the, what is the term, I’m
fangirling, because I still get an opportunity, and it’s one of my guilty
pleasures, so I go to a private bookstore, small bookstore, or Ivy Book Store in
Baltimore, and I peruse and it’s just wonderful. And I saw this title, “Palaces
for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization
and the Decline of Civic Life.” And I do what I usually do with books that have
these types of titles, I go in the back, and I’m looking, and I wonder if
they mention libraries. And I’m usually disappointed, and I leave the books right
there. This time, I opened it and I was so excited in the bookstore, and I added it
to the pile, and I went home and I read it. And I went to work the next day, and I had,
well you can see, tab things and all this stuff. It was just wonderful. So, how did it happen that you included libraries? First of all, it’s
so exciting to know that you went to the bookstore, too. You must get more free
books than anyone on earth. [laughing] At a time when we are searching everywhere for
community, for connection, for a sense of belonging, for the engines of democracy
that will revitalize our civic life, because everyone in this room knows that
we need that more than ever. We are searching everywhere, and too few people
stop to realize that they walk by that place every day. We have, already around
us, this extraordinary institution, the most amazing social infrastructure that
designers could ever build. And it’s called the library. And so everyone
here… yeah. We need places that are radically
inclusive and that are accessible to everyone, regardless of how much money
they have in their pocket, even when they don’t want to spend anything. And I can’t
think of another institution that is so committed to that project of
inclusiveness as the library. And obviously a great reason for that is the
fact that libraries are programmed and run by librarians. Right? This is a story
about librarians as much as it is about the library, and I think that needs to be
emphasized. I feel the t-shirt coming on: radical,
inclusiveness at your library. I like it, but I want us to have good
policy that’s based on real numbers, but that also has a message and a
story. And I think it’s important for all of us, when we leave this room, let’s make
this promise that, you know, for the next year, we’re not just going to complain
about the bad treatment that the library gets in our local government
we’re also going to work really hard to put together a story that’s based on
good evidence for why our libraries deserve better, and why, if we got
better, we could do more. And how once we start to get this, we’re going to turn
things around and revitalize this democratic experiment that really still
has a chance to do more great things. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. we
couldn’t have a better advocate. I’m gonna call you an advocate. Thank you, so much.

Author: Kevin Mason

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