If otherwise, well, to be honest, I'm not that crazy about the Darien Statements. But that's okay. Those aren't my statements on The (One Big?) Library and Librarians. Its theirs.
But I do want to start a thought of mine from their statement on the purpose of the library. "The purpose of The Library is to preserve the integrity of civilization."
Now saving civilization might be a good idea but I would leave that job up to superheroes and those working towards nuclear nonproliferation. I haven't properly worked out my own idea of The Library's purpose but if I did, it would definitely contain these two words: share and community.
Share is the most important word. We don't sell the stuff we collect. We share it.
And when I use the word community I mean, a group of people with a common interest. So that could be a group of graduate students in a lab or a small town.
I've been thinking about communities and small groups of thoughtful, committed citizens quite a bit lately. Sometimes its been in a library context but more often than not its been more about local politics and the environment. And recently, I've been re-visiting this paraphrased thought of one of my heroes, teacher Vivian Gussin Paley:
the "work" of school is not to learn the numbers and letters as quickly as possible, but to learn to come together and build a community.
Now that's certainly wasn't the purpose of the schools that I attended or have worked for. But what if it was? How would we do things differently? It just goes to show how its not a bad idea to go back and rethink what's the purpose of what you're doing.