This episode was great for learning about the history of libraries (starts at 13 min mark, second portion starts at 29min).
- There's a secret library in Syria in the besieged Damascus suburb of Darayya - stocked with 12k books! "Just like the body needs food, the soul needs food". BBC article about it mentioned in episode is here: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36893303
- Public support (91%) is higher than people who use them (44%)
- Decline in visitors due to 1) digital and also 2) government funding cuts (~6min mark explains more about impact on funding cuts)
- Pew Research found that more funding, better staff & resource, more people use them.
- The beautiful Times piece by Caitlin Moran is here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/libraries-cathedrals-of-o_b_2103362 Here's the beautiful quote:
"A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold, rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen, instead. A human with a brain and a heart and a desire to be uplifted, rather than a customer with a credit card and an inchoate “need” for “stuff.” A mall—the shops—are places where your money makes the wealthy wealthier. But a library is where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary, instead. A satisfying reversal. A balancing of the power."
13min - History of libraries:
- Royal library collection was built through collecting of conquest
- In Greece, people would bring items to add to library collection
- Hilarious about history of how books used to be stored horizontally until book spins were created. Fascinating hacks to get around it. Apparently chains were a thing.
- Libraries started private, then subscription/membership libraries, then public lending libraries (and the first one!)
- Carnegie funded over 1500 of libraries. Fascinating story about why he funded the libraries. (history continues at 29min mark)
30min - Interesting services offered by libraries
- Printing press for self-publishing
- Necktie library for job interviews
34min - Hilarious "I work at a public library" Tumblr by librarians