Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Open Books, Open Minds

The Northeast Library re-opened on Monday (covered by the DCist). There’ll even be a grand opening party on Saturday from 10:00am-4:00pm if you have time to drop by. I haven’t gone to see the inside yet, but I look forward to going and getting my first DC public library card sometime this week, and nosing around the building. 

Northeast Branch of the DC Public Library System
D&7 NE   Feb. 3, 2014

There’s always been something really magical to me about a library. It’s not just the books, I have far too many books at home. Nor is it the amount of information held in one building, because in this day and age, the supercomputer in my pocket holds exponentially more information than any one building ever could. Going to a community library seems to be more than just books or information. Rather, what I love about it seems to rest on the public side of the public library -- it’s public, it’s of the people. When you go to the library, you engage in a shared ritual of hushed sacredness surrounding the seeking and sharing of knowledge. First the trip to the catalog, the scribbling of some esoteric code, then hunting silently among the stacks, following the rubrics on the walls, reading the signs pointing to what you seek. Mumbling the decimal system under your breath like an unarticulated prayer, pulling the books and rifling through them, sometimes meeting dead ends, sometimes meeting an epiphany. Although entirely secular, there is a liturgy to the library, and in the liturgy and silence, in the wonder and curiosity, the library seems a holy space. 

In this reverence of the seeking and sharing of knowledge, perhaps I'm more akin to Bill Nye over Ken Ham in last night's debate at the Creationism Museum in Kentucky, but that's good. I believe that truth does, and will, set you free. But where we find that truth, be it science, or philosophy, or relationships, or religion, doesn't matter to me.

So go visit your library.

1 comment:

  1. I simply enjoy the smell of the old books... I can admit that to you and you not judge me or think that I am weird because you are my best friend ;) Love ya!