Monday, February 2, 2015
The Great Metropolitan Library
… Where there is no vision, people perish. Proverbs 29:18
I recently spoke with Mayor Steven S. Choi, Ph.D., about his vision of a ‘great metropolitan library’ in the Orange County Great Park (this link, btw, will take you to my blog as a Great Park Ambassador in the summer of 2008). Needless to say, I am very excited by the idea of a Great Metropolitan Library in Irvine, for Orange County. While the word "library" may seem anachronistic to many in this day of Google and digital libraries, the age-old functions of public libraries as "apostles of culture" will always be needed. Time has proved that and 'libraries' have become very good at adapting themselves to society's needs. I saw this for myself in 2005 when I visited libraries in Norway and other Scandinavian countries. History also reminds us that the great metropolitan libraries have not always been just about book learning; they were archives, museums, cultural centers, and meeting places; active forums which facilitated a vibrant and energetic society, that was alive and well, flourishing in the arts, sciences and all sorts of sports (not just the big stadium kind) because of these libraries. The iconic Tonsberg and Notteroy Bibliotek (Public Library of Tonsberg et Notteroy) captured it for me. The ruins of an old monastery and an old public library of just books was completely redone. A coffee shop, colorful spaces for children included story telling, a theater, hi-tech computer stations and wi-fi capabilities set behind gleaming black glass that reflected back the blue skies and buildings around were stunning to say the least. They inspired imagination and drew the crowds in. I will look for those photos to share with you all soon. Meanwhile, you can look at the library building here in 1001 libraries to see before you die :).
My family, friends and I have long felt that our city’s public libraries could be much, much better. Besides answering my questions, Mayor Choi kindly provided me with some of his writings/speeches. They flesh out his ideas for the great metropolitan library, including how it will be paid. In the Q&A section I ask the questions and provide the answers from Choi’s paper titled Irvine has a vision for a metropolitan library. You can read the full paper by downloading the entire pdf file (click on link to download and read the Adobe Acrobat file). A short version (800 words) has been submitted to the Op Ed section of the Orange County Register. At the very end of the Q&A I list the ways in which you come alongside in support and help to make the Great Met Library a reality.
Click on this link to read the Q&A - The Great Metropolitan Library (Orange County Great Park,Irvine)
Join The Great Metropolitan Library Support Group on Facebook.