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.  

14 comments on “The Libraries of Our Lives Project

  1. I studied library, documentation and information science for graduation and post graduation. I worked in a higher education library for a year, as a trainee. But, then, I left the field. I was tired of the unethical ways involved in getting placed into the profession those days. There was this top-notch institute, some bad student-faculty relations and everything going wrong. I moved on – in life, from Bangalore to Mumbai (Bombay, then), and from librarianship to technical documentation. That was in the beginning of the new millennium..

    Almost 12-13 years later, I found the love back. And, it was in Stockholm, the beautiful capital city of Scandinavia. With its amazing and near-perfect public library network and excellent professionalism, the Stockholm Stad (city) libraries and the librarians there won me back. And, ever since,Stockholm Stadsbiblioteket (The Stockholm City Library) is my favorite, though I love all the public libraries and the children’s libraries that I have visited in Stockholm. I guess, as Stockholm continues to bring back some of my best memories in the last two decades, the city library will always have its special place.

    Completely free and open to anyone with a national number, the Stockholm city libraries have some of the best collections, I guess. From fiction to philosophy to mathematics to astronomy to politics, from CDs to e-books to audio-books, the collection is all-encompassing. And, I was bowled over by the fact that I could loan 50 resources/titles at a time from any stads library in Stockholm, and return the resources at any library counter too. Completely automated with open access and high accessibility features, the system ensures that you don’t have to wait for anyone for lending or returning resources. But, if you need help, you always have a friendly librarian there too, all ears, always smiling. Though Swedes are the most passionate about their language, most librarians I met spoke English and even if they didn’t, they ensured you had the best experience.
    While most Stokholm libraries do have some English books in their collection, the International library is the best place if you wanna find books in English, your own mother tongue, or any other foreign language. In fact, I read some of the Malayalam classics for the first time at this library. You can recommend books in your language too, and I have seen they make a genuine attempt at procuring them..

    Yet another striking feature of the Stockholm libraries, especially the stads library is that they remain at the centre of the cultural life of the city. From discussions/debates to movie shows to poetry readings to lectures, many things happen in and around the libraries. And, with each library having a separate section for children, especially the City library, there are plenty of activities for the children and parents too. And yes, Stockholm has one library dedicated to children, the Rum for Barn or the room for children, which looks more like a kindergarten or an activity club for children. And these children’s sections and Rum for Barn are two strong reasons why I fell in love with the Stockholm libraries. With the sole aim of making children read and get into the habit and enjoyment of books/reading, these centres have everything possible to make the experience blissful. Having seen librarians staring at you for talking or making sound in the library, I found the Stockholm library experience very different. Children can run around, lie down and read, or even sleep in the comfortable chairs, cushions, mats therein, play around, and listen to stories in the story corner (read by the librarian). Parents, grandparents and caretakers can read to their children. Even adults can just lie on a couch and laze about, or be in a corner and read what they want. None reprimands you to sit straight, be silent or read. And that is what makes the Stockholm libraries different, I guess, from their Indian counterparts!

    I am hoping I would go back to Stockholm someday, and then relive the experiences!

    Forgive me for any spelling mistakes! Don’t really have time to read through and check now. Shall do so later, if there is an option. And, yes, I do have pics of the stadsbiblioteket at Sveavagen, Stockholm! Not sure where to post them though!!!

    Best,
    Suman

    Like

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