Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “illumination” as “the action of illuminating or state of being illuminated,” going on to provide several additional examples of this definition:
a : spiritual or intellectual enlightenment
b (1) : a lighting up (2) : decorative lighting or lighting effects
c : decoration by the art of illuminating
A library is a classic example of a resource for intellectual enlightenment, and the Rose Reading Room’s decorative lighting at the New York City Public Library is not so shabby, either!
The American Library Association has created a “Library Bill of Rights” affirming public libraries as important protectors of intellectual freedom and enlightenment.
Library Bill of RightsThe American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
Even as computers and internet access seem to often displace the paper versions of books and research guides, libraries have kept pace with the times, provide critical public access to computers, adding electronic books for e-readers to their collection, and offering free seminars and discussion groups on both educational and entertaining topics. In a time of increasing concern over the “haves” and “have nots” in the United States, the public library continues to act as a free, nondiscriminatory, open resource for all.
“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the Earth as the Free Public Library — this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” ~ Andrew Carnegie
Have you visited or supported your local public library lately? If not, perhaps pay it a visit and drop a donation to your library’s foundation sometime in 2013! It is an important community asset and resource that must be maintained.
For more information on the history of the “Library Bill of Rights” and other resources from the American Library Association, click here.
Ciao! ~ Kat
This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Illumination” was this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.