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Library Culture: Dream into Reality

Despite saying that Library Culture was like “Library 2.0” but less silly and insubstantial, I realized afterwards that Library Culture might still seem insubstantial. What can I say? I was too exhausted from inventing the next important library fad–meme–movement to give much thought to what it would actually be, which is how these things usually go.

I went on a bit about how Library Culture would bring all services within the library and give meaning and purpose to everyone’s lives. That might seem like a tall order, but when have librarians ever shrunk from a challenge? Please don’t answer that.

The first goal of Library Culture is to get everyone to identify themselves with the goal of libraries, the way they do with the goals of religions or political parties.

That should be easy. First, because such goals are always vague. Who doesn’t want salvation or freedom or security or any of the other big words that religions and political parties promise? What will Library Culture promise? Everything.

Second, because once everything else meaningful in society is subsumed within the Library, there will be no other goals worth having.

The motto of Library Culture will be: All within the Library, nothing outside the Library, nothing against the Library. I just thought that one up, but it has a nice ring to it.

Whatever purpose and meaning people need in their lives they can find within the Library. Are you one of those hopey, changey sort of people? Come to the Library and let us show you how to make hopeful change, or at least hopefully change yourself.

Are you one of those people who hate it that there are people who are different than you? You’re unhappy with their skin color, or with whom they prefer to have sex? Come to the Library, because within the Library there are no differences. We are all Cultural Librarians.

Are you a disaffected, alienated youth who wants to destroy everything because the world hasn’t bent itself to your desires? Come enjoy the Library’s fine collection of first person shooter video games and get lost for days at a time killing anything that moves.

Do you just want to be taken care of and told everything will be okay? The Library can do that. Come to the Library and eat a fine, or at least nutritionally balanced, meal. Have a cuppa with the Library staff. And then enjoy your sleep in the Library’s sleeping pods while the Librarians read calming stories to you and gently rock you to sleep.

Why turn to heroin and fentanyl when you can lose yourself in our crafts section and maybe pretend to be creative while coloring in our adult coloring books?

The deadly serious type who’s only happy when lecturing others about the problems facing the world and how everyone but you is part of the problem? No problem! Come lecture in the Library Culture lecture hall. It has no seats, but excellent lighting, and the podium faces a very large mirror.

The Library can give everyone a purpose if every possible purposeful activity can take place within the Library. That’s just logic. And the meaning will come when everyone realizes they are part of something larger than themselves, because within Library Culture nothing will be larger than the Library.

This will mean an even broader expansion than even in the most socially ambitious librarians’ dreams. How will this be accomplished? It seems like the best way will be with something most libraries already have: a patron request form.

Usually that’s so patrons can request books the library doesn’t have. Some libraries expand the idea into a portal for suggestions from patrons on library services that could be offered or improved.

Library Culture takes that much further. If patrons have requests for an activity or cultural product that will bring meaning and purpose to their lives, the Library will do everything possible to fulfill that request.

There’s really not much that Library Culture can’t do or be. Theoretically, it’s not that hard to feed, clothe, and house people, although most people don’t seem to be satisfied with just being theoretically fed, clothed, and housed. Still, it’s possible.

If they’re bored, the Library can entertain them. If they’re sick in body, mind, or soul, the Library can heal them.

And everyone can be fed, clothed, housed, healed, and entertained within the comforts of the large Library Culture that gives them a reason to live and a way to pass that time living, while doing so together with everyone else in one location.

In Library Culture, the Library will be like a nonsectarian megachurch where everyone comes together for the purpose of Library Culture, but gets to go off and do what seems most meaningful to them at the time.

Once Library Culture brings everyone together in harmonious joy and comfort, social problems like homelessness and drug overdoses will just go away, and we’ll all have Library Culture to thank.

That’s all it takes.

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Comments

  1. Skipbear says:

    I really think you have something there AL. You might even be able to package it and market it at workshops anyplace you want to visit. Just makes me feel all warm and altruistic Makes me want to break into groups, drink martinis and categorize our feelings on giant post it notes.

  2. Fat Guy says:

    This post almost reads like a valedictory. Are you done with this whole thing?

    • mud fence says:

      AL might stop when librarians wake up and stop all this periphery bull**%t. Until we put our foot down, we will continue to the the hotel, drug intervention, mental hospital, social service agency of choice because nobody else cares. All the federal, state and local social service agencies work 9-5 Monday – Friday, they let libraries take care of all things social services related during their “off” hours.
      Even banks have adjusted their hours to meet the needs of their customers. Not so for all those other tax sucking social service agencies.

      How can we get them to work with us IN our libraries. We can’t because they go home at 5.

      Frank Zappa has a great song that goes,

      ” I’m a moron and this is my wife
      She’s frosting a cake with a paper knife
      All what we got here’s American made
      It’s a little bit cheesy but it’s nicely displayed
      Well, we don’t get excited when it crumbles and breaks
      We just get on the phone and call up some flakes
      They rush on over and wreck it some more
      And we are so dumb, they’re linin’ up at our door

      Take note of the last line .. We are so DUMB their lining up at our door.

  3. This lovely idea of a library culture hegemony absorbing all of society into its niceness is obviously better than a lot of hegemonies (including one currently being constructed by POTUS and friends). Just as obviously, there is no such library culture and we can’t save everyone.

    But let me tell you what we do offer: Librarians are almost infinitely helpful. We reach out to others, love to help them solve their problems, and (somewhat optimistically) believe in the power of knowledge to transform society. Instead of hegemony, we best offer a safe, kind center of helpfulness. Do we need anything more?

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