The inquiry regarding our reason for being comes often. It seems to baffle some, and inspire others, but our reason for being is simple: provide access to information. In a time where authority is brought into question, and the defining people of a populace rise with the tide of their collective dissatisfaction, there is no moment more opportune to provide for the information needs of a citizenry that hungers for answers, alternatives and understanding. It is here that a library comes into her own as a beacon of freedom and intellect, and it is here that The People’s Library finds definition.
The sentiment of those occupying is that we are the victims of unfairness, unconscionable decision-making and the gnawing disease of uncertainty; all of which are avoidable and unnecessary. However, the cries of the brave have gone largely disregarded due to a perceived lack of coherent demand and plan of action. In answer to this, The People’s Library has deemed it a mission to afford every person the literacy, insight and education to articulate their criticisms, to meet inquisition with a knowledgable sense of what is just, and to empower every person with the tools necessary to exercise their human right to know.
Now, more than ever, libraries of every kind must rise to the occasion of an inspired reader-base and make provisions for even the most insatiable minds. If nothing, what has been demonstrated by the movement of occupiers all over the world is that information, transparency and the ability to be a part of the greater conversation is tantamount to citizenship in the global community. What is being presented is the opportunity for a renaissance in social consciousness, and librarians are on the forefront of that potential.
Is it possible that a new world may begin at the library?
As funds run thin, budgets tighten and governments focus on the immediacy of crisis, the conversation begins with regard to the relevance of our comforts, the needs of our people and the rights of luxury. Existing somewhere between what is requisite and what is desired, stands the topic of libraries. In her infancy, America was home to great men with the forethought and insight to protect the rights of citizens to know, to understand and to communicate their ideas freely. Archivists, historians and scholars came together under the umbrella of librarianship to record, conserve and protect our history, culture and knowledge; perhaps even our humanity. Libraries have served as a haven of academic pursuit, an access-point for the underprivileged, and the professionals thereof have valiantly defended against the encroachment of censorship and obfuscation. Somehow, despite the offerings of libraries to a free society, they have come under the scrutinizing eye of appraisal. Some would have you believe that libraries are beginning to decay and that funding their interests further is merely a drain on resources. Others would have you believe that the era of information has ushered in a time where the practice of librarianship is merely redundant, given the skills of a tech-savvy public. As such, the premise is that libraries have lost relevance and should be forgotten. Yet here we stand, on the dawn of revolution, where a brave and active some have taken charge on reform, come together as a united front and have moved to start anew. The 99% have collected under the sole governance of solidarity; in defense of comfort and need. Of interest is that, beyond the immediacy of what is requisite, the central desires of the people have coalesced and been made known. The uniting thread of dissatisfaction has given birth to a fresh emphasis on the right to knowledge, and the first institution of the people has been given form; The People’s Library. — What is to be said of relevance now?