Saturday, December 02, 2023

'Dangerous' places like library needed, deserve support

| September 1, 2022 1:00 AM

This past week it came to my attention that the Bonners Ferry Library, its board of trustees and its director have been the focus of protests and threats, culminating in the resignation of the director. Upon reading the resignation letter, I wondered what in the world is happening to my hometown? As a retired librarian with experience in both public and academic libraries, with quite a lot of experience in library material selection as well as teaching information literacy skills to undergraduates, I'd like to share my thoughts.

Public libraries are indeed dangerous places for the following reasons:

• They offer free access to information sources and literature that can challenge one's preconceived ideas of how the world works, what to take on faith, and how to deal with new ideas that create cognitive dissonance.

• As a result, libraries, both public and academic, are a threat to any ideology, group or individual that purports to have the final word on any topic, be it political, social, scientific or economic.

• Libraries are incubators of citizens who can choose what to believe instead of serfs who must conform to dogma imposed by a higher authority. This is a direct threat to any and all higher authorities.

• Since librarians choose materials based on the principle of building a balanced collection, reflecting the diversity of not only their immediate community but of the wider world, individuals wishing to prevent their neighbors from access to that wider world of ideas will object.

If you've read this far, I suppose you, too, will see how these reasons beg the question: Do you want a public library in your community? I'm of the opinion that Bonners Ferry needs this dangerous place and that your library deserves your support.



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