Keep On Reading!


A few weeks ago I met one of our sons at the Seattle Central Library downtown. I’d been there before I lived here but I’d forgotten what an architectural masterpiece that building is. Eleven stories tall, the inside consists of a long gradual winding spiral corresponding to the Dewey Decimal System. The ground floor starts with books numbered 000 and 100 and the levels climb very gradually to the 900’s, followed by two floors with meeting spaces. At the very top there’s an overlook down to the ground, not the greatest view for someone who’s vertigo-prone. (There’s an elevator for those who don’t want to browse or wend their way through the whole building.) This reminded me of a man I know who, when I asked him about an upcoming library levy proposition, told me he wouldn’t vote for additional funding. “Why would I do that?” he asked. “When I want a book, I buy it.” As someone who considers a library to be the bedrock of any community, I was horrified. Sometimes libraries carry reading material that a person with a certain mindset considers to be inappropriate. I like what my friend once said in response to that. “A good library has something to offend everyone.” My son and I talked about the famous library destroyed in Alexandria, Egypt in the year 48 BCE. History tells us that Caesar was cut off by a large fleet of Egyptian boats, which he ordered to be burned. The fleet was destroyed and the flames spread to the city and the library. Who knows what our knowledge would be, if we had continued to have access to the information in those ancient papyrus rolls?


Photo courtesy Seattle Public Library on Wikipedia


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