Thursday, January 26, 2006

Codrescu: New Orleans libraries in peril

How do you rebulid a library system when no one much cares about readingany more?
The Villager : "Public libraries are indispensable to poor communities like New Orleans, because they serve as cultural centers for people who still have the integrity not to surrender to television and video games. Public library buildings are also useful for sheltering a great number of people. If anyone in government would have given any thought to public libraries in New Orleans, they might have built them to serve as shelters in a disaster. The storm that ripped the roof right off the scandalous poverty in our city also exposed the shabby treatment of programs intended to better community life. The complete lack of foresight and imagination by the bureaucrats in charge of public monies is beyond appalling. It’s criminal. Libraries may not be the first priority in a city beset by thousands of personal tragedies and hundreds of major and urgent needs, but they are an irreplaceable piece of the complex puzzle of urban civilization. Take away the library and what you have is a mindless shopping mall. "

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