British National Library. Image from All My Dreams Lead to London
What will we do when libraries are gone?
Way back in the Eisenhower administration, some Thinkers of Great Thoughts pondered what life would be like in America after a nuclear “exchange” with the Soviet Union. In other words, how would Americans carry on, get on with life, and, it was hoped, re-create civilization?
Realizing most major cities could be wiped out, the Thinkers determined it would be a good idea if information to make civilization were decentralized. They proposed the Eisenhower Library Program, legislation that provided money and assistance to be certain every county, borough and parish in America had at least one library, and a well stocked one. When New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles were snuffed out, any local citizen could go to her local library and get access to all the information necessary to rebuild, technical information, and human information (humanities).
In the first year of the Eisenhower Libraries (1957 if I recall correctly), $100 million was appropriated to build and stock libraries.
Designers thought it would be a one-time appropriation, but it worked so well, by the Reagan administration, it was $100 million a year, to aid at least 3,143 county/borough/parish libraries. In 2016, there are more than 119,000 libraries of all kinds across the U.S.
The Reagan administration was a turning point. Books for civilization were deemed superfluous, and the program was killed to “save money,” letting civilization save itself if it needed to.
Once a year in America, we celebrate National Library Week, April 10 through 16 in 2016.
In Britain, it’s National Libraries Day. That day is today, February 6, 2016.
Twitter is all atwitter about it. See how they celebrate in Britain? Steal some of these ideas, librarians, and hold them for U.S. National Library Week. I especially like the cake idea.
All you Boy Scouts working on the Citizenship in the Community merit badge, nota bene:
This one is a great thought:
Is the trend equally bad in the U.S.?
Did Einstein actually say this? Good on him, if he did.
Well, hee haw! and Buffalo Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight!
Good heavens. At #NationalLibrariesDay, there are a thousand of ’em!
What was Andrew Carnegie thinking?