The Libraries of Our Lives Project

 

Let’s face it: libraries, in the form we know them, are close to obsolescence.

With increasing digitization and availability of  information online to a net savvy public, as well as the desire to use more eco-friendly media, books on paper will soon become unviable. So will the physical  libraries that hold them. The smaller ones will be shut down, and the better funded ones will take on digital avatars with new and  expanded missions. We might very well be the last generations to walk library aisles in search of the elusive book by our favorite author, to play peek a boo with the latest crush behind the shelves, or to take our children on their first visit to the magical book palace. Generation 2020 might find today’s libraries  a historic curiosity, along with typewriters and stick shift cars, just like the ancient libraries  with stone tablets and papyrus scrolls. 

The Libraries of Our Lives Project aims to preserve the memories of  libraries in different lands, in the voices of the people who loved them.

Check out the weblog of all stories that are already included by clicking on The Libraries on the top menu bar. You’ll encounter gems such the ones below, the most popular ones seen on the sidebar, and  many more!

La piazaa principale di Sanvito al Tagilamento

Library of San Vito, Italy

Anna Centenary Library

Anna Centenary Library, India

Painswick

Painswick Library, UK

Oakvill Library

Oakville Library, Canada

 

 

 

 

Do you find in here a library that was special to you? If so, please make the memory richer by telling your story about it as a comment, right below it. (Note: You do not have to be a WordPress member to post a comment, you need just an email address.) The blog owner may promote your comment to the main article, if you bring in a distinctive point of view.

Don’t see your favorite libraries? No problem. You can add them to the project. It doesn’t matter whether it was a one room village reading center or a school library or an august, centuries-old public library,  we welcome all entries. Maybe you know children who’d like to participate, so that they remember the heritage of this beloved institution.

Your library and your story are important to us. A story can be a short paragraph  about the library and why you like it, or an anecdote,  preferably with a photograph of the library. But if you don’t have a photo’  handy, we will find one for you. What we are really looking for is your voice, your narrative.

There are two ways  in which you can share  a library with the project:

1.  The Easy Way:  You can simply email the story and photograph to us, to the address given in the Contact Us page. We will add the story using a generic Id. Your preferred screen name will be displayed in the post, as the author. This is what most people have done so far.

2. The Blogger Way: If you already have a WordPress account, share your WordPress account name with us via email to the address in the Contact Us page. We will add you as a contributor/author within 24 hours. You will then be able to log in and tell your story yourself, include links to your other blogs etc. If you tell us something about yourself and why you like this project, we will include your profile in The Authors page.

We are very excited about this project and hope that it gains popularity across continents and helps to preserve the stories of many people and their favorite libraries.  

11 comments on “The Libraries of Our Lives Project

  1. Perhaps there is hope for libraries yet? I was encouraged to read that in the 10 years ending in 2011, libraries in the US have seen a 29% increase in circulation – much higher than the 10% growth in population over that period. Also, in 2011 (the latest year for which this data is available) the volume of books borrowed was about the same as those purchased – 2.44B against 2.59B respectively. (These data points are from The Economist article ‘On the Volume of Volumes’ at http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2014/07/book-gluttony?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/onthevolumeofvolumes.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello! Thank you for your kind comments on my blog (beanbag tales). Your project and blog on libraries is very interesting especially since different people are talking about their fav library.
    I’ve never really been fond of libraries and your comment and later on, your blog, took me down memory lane to the various libraries of MY life. And they’re not many. The sad part is that in this crazy city I live in (Karachi), there are hardly any good public libraries. Private clubs (Sindh Club, Karachi Gymkhana etc), universities and colleges have respectable libraries but they are not accessible to public and I’ve not visited the few that are.
    Good luck with your search for fav libraries. We need to talk about quiet reading and writing spaces to make people realise that what the world needs is more libraries and small book stores and less cafe’s and malls.
    cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Farheen for looking up the blog. You are right, it is the multiple voices and perspectives that make the project come alive.
      In the absence of public libraries, do you buy all the books you read ? Or are there other options like Lending libraries and book clubs?

      Like

  3. I grew up in the quiet city of Trivandrum (now Thiruvananthapuram). Books were a big part of my life, thanks to my parents. My sister Viju and I had the benefit of our father’s small library at home. But still going to a library was a passion. I remember all the major libraries in Trivandrum those days.
    The biggest was the Public Library. My earliest memories include going there with my grand father. He would select classics for me to read. Books like ‘Three Musketeers’. I clearly remember walking alongside the massive shelves full of old leather bound books. Created a magical image of books in me. Later I made it a habit to go there and spend time whenever I could.
    I remember the British Library very clearly. Smaller collection of books but a slightly more modern collection. The Soviet library had a very different set of books. But it was a quieter library and I enjoyed the ambiance there. I also remember the University library with a bigger collection of Academic books and journals.
    Once I joined the Engineering college in Trivandrum, I was impressed with the new library in the college. There was a good collection of magazines as well as bound volumes of old journals.
    I did make it a point to visit other libraries like the ones at Keltron, ER&DC, VSSC and many other Institutes. My passion for technology (especially the early Microprocessor industry) really got me to learn a lot at many of these libraries.
    Once I moved to C-DAC, Pune I remember visiting some old libraries with my father who was an even bigger fan of libraries.
    After moving to California in 1994, I realized what libraries should be! I was presented with a veritable buffet of options. I went crazy. Every small city had its amazing library. Totally free. Each with books, magazines, cassettes, CDs, Software, Movies, you name it! Also you could borrow almost unlimited number of books. We could also search for, request, renew books online. Then of course there were free memberships for online libraries that these library cards enabled. People take books in literally big laundry baskets! I made sure I joined all the libraries where I could drive often without driving my family crazy. Santa Clara was my home library. I was a frequent visitor there. We have watched countless movies from there. Sunnyvale was another good library. Of course San Jose was the biggest. MountainView was great and near my work. Their bus would come to our office and collect books for return! Saratoga and Cupertino had good libraries as well. After we moved to Tracy I made sure I spent some time in the Tracy library as well even though it was much smaller.
    Finally I have to thank Prathibha (my wife), for letting me pay the sizable fine I had to pay as late-fee all these years for supporting my extravagant reading plans which on many occasions never materialized.
    After my return to India in 2012 I went back to some of the old libraries which still were open. Even though I had higher expectations now and felt a bit disappointed it was still heart-warming to see the places where my love for books had originated. I hope some of these libraries survive for our children.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, Bala, it seems you are an aficionado, like me. Thank you for sharing. I spent one summer, as an engineering student in the ER& DC library… not having enough clout to get a proper internship … a very pleasant time, though. The VSSC library was my haunt in the decade I worked there too… and not just for the PLLs and DSPs that was my field of work.The reference section had a huge space atlas, one that showed the entire known universe,,,earth was but a minor speck. It never failed to give me perspective. I have walked past the Soviet Culture building several times, but never been inside. When you have time will you please write about it as a separate entry? (I suspect the society and library are shut down now.) Else,please share a story or two about the Santa Clara library, which was home.

      Like

Tell us what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s