Friday, June 14, 2013

Kurt Vonnegut - A Man Without A Country

“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”
“In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appalling powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed.
In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazi's once were.
And with good reason.
In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want.
Piece of cake.
In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanize our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class.
Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything.
Piece of cake.
The O'Reilly Factor.
So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called "In These Times."
Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic "New York Times" guaranteed there were weapons of destruction there.
Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.
Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you?
Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is the not the first time I surrendered to a pitiless war machine.
My last words? "Life is no way to treat and animal, not even a mouse."
Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas!
Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler.
What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations and made it all their own?”  

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Library of Unborrowed Books

Hers's a link to the piece in The Paris Review that brought this exhibition to my attention - Borrowed Time, by Michele Filgate.

She was discussing this exhibition:

Meriç Algün Ringborg: The Library of Unborrowed Books

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Libraries and Wikipedia - not an either/or

Cory Doctorow, one of the bright minds around, has contributed this to Boing Boing

Wikipedia and libraries: a match made in heaven

Definitely worth a read, for the idea alone, and it sounds totally feasible to me (with my fairly limited technical knowledge).  Some resources in my own library are available to all, others are for members-only, but available from anywhere, and there is a small group which are both members-only, and can only be accessed from within the library buildings (it all depends on the licenses).

Access to the complete Oxford Dictionary is alone a wonderful resource, but you can also find old newspaper archives, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, specialist dictionaries of biography, arts, etc.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Things to do when you are rich

Andrew Carnegie was a very rich man, who believed whole-heartedly in the value of public libraries, and contributed enormous amounts of his own money in setting them up in different countries.

110 years ago Andrew Carnegie was made a Freeman of Limerick; in his speech he outlined the role of Public Libraries...

Related Posts with Thumbnails