Libraries - Yes! - but don’t forget the rest
Libraries are “our community space for the confluence of people and ideas,” according to Matt Hinch. Libraries are a piece of a whole complex of rich cultural life and need to be valued as such. Free access to information is essential to a democracy, we have always believed, as informed people make informed decisions.
But, where does the flowing together of people and ideas actually occur? I would argue that a lot of discussion and opinion making occurs in Campbell River’s coffee shops. There people discuss newspaper articles, and various ideas presented on-line, digest the opinions of their friends and co-workers, and relate personal experiences.
Beyond that, I have been impressed with the spate of institutions offering thoughtful discussions. The Museum offered a form of Philosopher’s Cafe. The Art Gallery has an art lecture series. North Island College has a author’s series on right now. Still further, many groups offer stimulation and discussion. Every March Words on the Water brings writers that are the best on the West Coast. Book stores and book clubs are venues for discussion and friendship. Churches and other worship centers weekly present a perspective on life. School informs and forms life long beliefs. The community center offers physical space for groups. Good local theatre engages as it entertains.
Libraries are still a source of information both for print and electronically delivered material. They are a resource for everyone, and, they are particularly important for people who have limited personal resources and who don’t have electronic devices or buy books and magazines. Libraries as sources of knowledge are a part of the whole fabric of our community life.