Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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July 19, 2007 |
I just read your article in praise of libraries. I am a retired school librarian and I couldn't agree more with your memories of the libraries of your childhood, and the current state of affairs.
You have put into words the feelings of distress I have when I visit a new library done in "warehouse motif." We have a local library that you wouldn't believe. The major decorating element is "rebar." It hangs from the ceiling in the patron areas and greets you at the entrance. It sounds like something from a comedy sketch, but I'm afraid it is all too real.
The 19th Century and early 20th built some magnificent structures, Barbara, and we should not be knocking them down because they are irreplaceable. In my hometown of Anoka, back in the Sixties, a generation of idiots in power destroyed six or seven landmarks of the town, including the old Carnegie library and the county courthouse and replaced them with warehouses. The town lost some of its character and the damage is permanent. Those buildings were loved and the ones that replaced them are merely functional. There is something in the hearts of county commissioners that wants to make an impact with a wrecking ball. But the real fault, I suppose, lies with people like me who saw what needed to be done and didn't do it and who didn't do the hard work of figuring out how to adapt the old buildings to new purposes.