View profile

Holding Space - Issue #9

Dr Sheree Bekker (she/her)
Dr Sheree Bekker (she/her)
Some public library love.

I love a public library. I love any library, for that matter.
This week it was so lovely to see some public library love on my Twitter timeline, courtesy of Oslo’s AMAZING new library. Click on the tweet below to see more, and to see more incredible libraries from across the world.
Dr Cat Jarman FSA💀
This is Oslo’s new PUBLIC LIBRARY. It’s unbelievable. Completely free, open to everyone until 10pm every day. There is a wine bar. Views to die for. All the books. https://t.co/veUheI2mTZ
I love seeing the incredible physical spaces that libraries can be. And I love seeing them transform into beautiful, contemporary public spaces reflective of user-centred design.
That said, I love almost even more the tiny community libraries that punch well above their weight. Here is a picture I took inside the small community library in a small town in South Africa nearby were my family live (which I used frequently in the period between which I had completed my PhD and got my job at Bath).
Image of the interior of a slightly shabby library, with threadbare blue carpets and stacks of books that aren't modern and aren't quite full.
Image of the interior of a slightly shabby library, with threadbare blue carpets and stacks of books that aren't modern and aren't quite full.
Anyone who knows me will know that I read copiously. I adore books but having lived a precarious academic life for so long I sadly don’t own a library’s worth (though I probably do have that many digital books…I do love the accessibility of a digital book). That said, even if I did I would still be a member of the local library and use it frequently.
Public libraries are more important than ever. And yet we (I’m speaking of certain demographics here) seem to use them less than ever, preferring ownership of books. But libraries are so much more than that: libraries help connect communities and make them healthier, they “house centuries of learning, information, history, and truth, are important defenders in the fight against misinformation”, and so, so much more.
As gateways to knowledge and culture, libraries play a fundamental role in society. The resources and services they offer create opportunities for learning, support literacy and education, and help shape the new ideas and perspectives that are central to a creative and innovative society. They also help ensure an authentic record of knowledge created and accumulated by past generations. In a world without libraries, it would be difficult to advance research and human knowledge or preserve the world’s cumulative knowledge and heritage for future generations. Ben White, Head of Intellectual Property, British Library
Libraries are wonderful liminal spaces. I still use the library on campus at Bath for physical books (old school I know), and the public library in Bath (which Save Bath Libraries had to fight to save just before I moved here). I’ve had a library membership all my life, in all the towns and cities I have lived. I have also used so many more in towns and cities where I’ve visited. I think some people look down on public libraries precisely because they are democratised spaces which serve the needs of a diverse population. But this is precisely why I love them and why I feel passionately that we need to support them.
I’d love to see your own local public library love, and if you have never used it I’d challenge you to go ahead and do so today.
Bonus image: the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale (not public, sadly). Image depicts a contemporary 5 storey tower of backlit protected books inside a modern building with reading space around it.
Bonus image: the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale (not public, sadly). Image depicts a contemporary 5 storey tower of backlit protected books inside a modern building with reading space around it.
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Dr Sheree Bekker (she/her)
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Dr Sheree Bekker (she/her)
Dr Sheree Bekker (she/her) @shereebekker

My research and writing is social justice oriented, in the public health area of (sports) injury prevention and safety promotion.

[Subscription is free, membership is optional]

You can manage your subscription here.
In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Created with Revue by Twitter.