Leading When You Know What Your Organization MeansPosted: May 6, 2014
A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold, rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen, instead. A human with a brain and a heart and a desire to be uplifted, rather than a customer with a credit card and an inchoate “need” for “stuff.” A mall–the shops–are places where your money makes the wealthy wealthier. But a library is where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary, instead. A satisfying reversal. A balancing of the power.
Caitlin Moran from Libraries Cathedrals of Our Souls, Huffpost, The Blog, November 2012
No judgement against libraries because we love them. But we wish Caitlin Moran had been writing about museums. And we want to ask why, because although she’s among the most eloquent, Caitlin Moran isn’t alone. Is it as simple as writers naturally waxing poetic about their childhood love of libraries, and from there it’s a hop, skip and a jump to their love of libraries now? Maybe. Do writers not go to museums when they were children? Do people–not just writers–not think of museums in the aggregate the way they think of libraries? Is it easier to think of libraries as a group?
It seems to us that museums need to be in the middle of their communities. Maybe they aren’t quite the emergency exit, life raft/festival hybrid Moran envisions, but what are they? And what do they — should they — mean?