Why we love libraries

An ode to one of our favorite public institutions: the library

There is nothing quite like a library. Tentpoles of the local community, open sources for knowledge, and all-around havens for readers and thinkers alike: Is there anything that a library cannot do or be?

To celebrate National Library Week, we asked our colleagues at the Press to share what they love most about libraries—perhaps the sense of community or just the smell of books and paper. Read on to learn why we love libraries, and be sure to visit and support your local library this week.

MIT Press director and publisher Amy Brand.

Amy Brand, director and publisher

“In our networked era, the metaphor of the library as a beating heart—whether of a town or an institution—gives way to connected libraries as a vascular system, circulating knowledge as lifeblood throughout the distributed, diverse communities they serve.”

Rebecca Conn, general manager, MIT Press Bookstore

“Libraries are the reason my mother learned to drive. I was a toddler, and I was missing out on programming at the rural small-town library five miles away because she couldn’t drive. She got her license, and I got a library card. I got programming and books and care from librarians who helped me grow all the way up to getting my first job—at that same library. Today I am a bookstore manager on a college campus far away from that small town. I have cards for almost every library in a ten mile radius. Every single one, be it a small branch or a big academic, is doing its utmost to serve its community and promote curiosity, access, and lifelong learning. That’s why they’re important to me.”

Corinne Gould, manager of advertising and promotions

“Libraries are important to me not just because of the literal resources available (reliable internet access, workshops and community education, books, magazines, CDs, digital access to audiobooks and streaming services) but because of how physical space offers a portal to connect with my community that is rooted in education, enrichment, and empowerment. There are so few public spaces, and the library is one of the critical environments where I can see my neighbors and feel a sense of belonging in my community without a transactional expectation.”

Elisabeth Graham, marketing and communications assistant

“Libraries are the perfect home for the interminably curious. No matter what you want to read, what new skill you want to gain, new people you want to meet, libraries are there. I have always loved talking to librarians, some of the most generous and sharp people out there.”

Amy Harris, senior manager, library relations and sales

“Someone at the Press recently expressed that they felt that their library card has more power than their credit card, and I’ve counted myself very lucky and privileged to have enjoyed wonderful libraries, their programs, and their collections throughout my life. I’m also acutely aware of the fact that many people around the world do not have access to libraries and all the incredible resources and programs they provide. It’s been an honor for me at the Press to work closely with librarians on open access projects that contribute to the public knowledge commons and help contribute to a big, open, sharable collection of scholarship for the whole world to enjoy.”

Dava Silvia, order fulfillment assistant

“The library is a lifeline offering access for everyone.”

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