What is a public library for? Well, books of course! FREE books, lots of books, big books, little books, from classics of western literature to Dr. Seuss, every book you might want. We love them so!
But, no, that’s not what a library is for. It’s one of the things we do, certainly, our most beloved service. But all those books are tools, one of the many tools that we use to achieve some ambitious goals. Libraries are the public institutions that exist to nurture cultural literacy, lifelong learning, and bringing its community together….
For a community to grow and improve, it has to have a means to come together, someplace safe and welcoming, where no one is trying to sell you something, and no one will look down their nose at you for your class, race, creed, sexual orientation, politics, religion, or pop culture preferences. Libraries are that place. We welcome everyone, and encourage the hard work of community building. We have big meeting rooms for public events, small meeting rooms for private conversations, open and friendly spaces to chit-chat or quietly read together. All of these are ways to build community. Maybe it’s a garden club. Maybe it’s open sessions for city planning. Maybe it’s a parenting support group. Maybe it’s a knitting circle.
– Scott Bronner, director of the Ferguson, Missouri public library