Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Twelve theses on libraries and librarians
Anna and Evan have posted on libraries; and someone else has posted stunning pictures of the world's most beautiful libraries. All of which prompted me to draw up the following theses:
1. The library is the most solid and enduring item in the whole apparatus of intellectual life. In time our academic fads and fashions, our schools of thought and indeed entire disciplines, will pass soundlessly into the abyss of history. But the library endures – in fact it grows only stronger, driving its roots down ever deeper while the wreckage of history piles up around it. The library’s sheer material presence testifies to its ontological priority in intellectual life: ideas are fickle and intangible, they occupy no fixed location, but the library fills space and time with an imposing materiality. It is the mind’s anchor holding fast beneath the storms and currents of time.