Monday, June 28, 2010

Neil Gaiman, Librarian's Son

I'M trying to make this blog about more than just the collapse of the library system -- really I am -- but events keep bringing me back to the matter. The latest is the report of an excellent speech by writer Neil Gaiman about the importance of libraries. 

This article, in London's Daily Telegraph, reports on the novelist -- whose mother was a librarian -- picking up the Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book. (The award is given by the Chartered Institute of Information Professionals.)

In short, Gaiman described closing libraries as "stealing from the future." Here's what he said:

 "Libraries are our future – to close them would be a terrible, terrible mistake – it would be stealing from the future to pay for today which is what got us into the mess we’re in now.
"In this austerity world it's incredibly easy if you are a local authority and you are looking for cuts, to say 'Let's cut libraries'. But that's borrowing from the future."
Part of what I also like is the way he insists on the importance of libraries and librarians in the Internet age -- calling them "more important than ever."
Anyone who follows this blog -- or the current debates over libraries, information technology, and so on -- knows that libraries are hardly just about musty old books. Though without musty old books, we surely wouldn't have writers like Neil Gaiman.

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