Monday, February 2, 2009


My M.I.S. comes from "Better Together" on page 42.It is a quote from a Mayor in refrence to libraries. "Unless you are out there changing neighborhoods, you are not completing the work you are to do."

This is an ambitious goal for libraries but also a noble one. In the piece "Race and Place" the author seemed convinced that today's libraries simply mirror ones town; however, this author takes a more optimistic approach and chooses to portray libraries as a beacon of neighborhood change. Yet, I am not sure how realistic this is. The author often puts the task of community improvement on just the libraries. I think that in order for the libraries to really become a third place, a place of equal footing, and an example for change, the community has to be involved. A society has to make their library what they want it to be. It can simply mirror a neighborhood or it can serve as a place of change, but only if people make it this way. Therefore, although i believe that libraries can serve as a means to improve neighborhoods, I believe that a cities people have to be just as actively involved in this process in order to make it successful. This sentence carries a lot of weight and is a rallying point for librarians but i think the author should be trying to rally the community around the idea of changing their own city through their library as well.


  1. That is a great point Shannon. It definitely takes more than one institution to change a whole community and the people should definitely be rallied to make that change happen. I think, too, the mayor's statement is an "easier said than done" idea. Obviously, as a mayor, he is definitely not part of the lower-income community, and he also really has no authority to speak for the library. While he is the mayor, I'm sure he doesn't spend all of his own time there, and he probably doesn't realize exactly how realistic it would be for a library to change a neighborhood single-handedly. It, of course, would be great if libraries had the number one power to make improvements in a community, but the reality is that the people have to really do something about it!

  2. I agree that the library should not be the sole remedy to a community in need. It is the responsibility of the community to invest wisely in itself in order to prosper. The libraries of today are smart enough to have conference centers and other public use amenities in order to preserve its importance in an area and in fact does make it a central hub for much of a community's organizations, clubs, etc. Still, even if there is a library, a community ought to have something like, say, a police station to also keep the peace so you're right in saying a library is a one time fix sort of deal.

  3. I agree. And even in another part of the article it states how because of the library, other parts of the neighborhood were being upgraded, such as stores and housing, but that it was negative on many of the initial residents because it was becoming too expensive, and they were being forced out of their home towns. Even though it might be a positive improvement for Chicago as a whole, it only puts the residents who are being forced out of the town in worse positions, considering they don't even get any benefits of the library in the end, and may even end up having to live in a worse part of the city.