Read any good books lately? Published in 2018, The Library Book by Susan Orlean combines the mystery of the ginormous 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Public Library with history, anecdotes about librarians and LA personalities, and other fascinating stories. It’s a fun read.
You may have forgotten: prior to Andrew Carnegie’s library building spree (over 1,600 public libraries in the US https://www.carnegie.org/interactives/foundersstory/#!/ ) libraries often required a membership fee, preventing many from visiting them. Carnegie valued the impact that the access to books and ideas made on him. He recalled not being able to afford a library membership, and felt strongly that the creation of free public libraries would allow young people to improve their lives and further their own impact on society.
Photo Credit: www.stillwaterlibrary.org
Orlean notes that libraries capture time, not just this time but all human time. She describes libraries as the “gathering pool of narratives and of the people who come to find them. It is where we can glimpse immortality; in the library, we can live forever.” Folk schools see one of their roles being to help pass on traditional skills, to honor those who developed and advanced their crafts, and to help those crafts live into the future. It may seem odd to connect ‘book learning’ and libraries to a place where hand-on learning is encouraged, but it makes sense to us! People search out folk schools to learn traditional skills and challenge themselves, finding joy in the learning process. People visit libraries for a many reasons, but often to access the knowledge and skills of those that have come before them and to find joy in learning. Both places welcome life-long learners.
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Celebrate libraries and National Library Week beginning next week on April 7! Continue your path as a life-long learner by visiting your local library and/or signing up for a class at our local folk school. See you there!
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