Wednesday, June 3, 2009

250 Words: By Any Other Name

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.

-- Romeo and Juliet

A Library is not defined by the type of material, or information, contained, but the fact it contains material and information. Is it filled with books? Movies? Electronic information found no where in print? Is it a physical place with physical items gathering physical dust or an electronic place with electronic items composed of computer dust?

An empty building does not make a Library, even though "Library" is posted in huge letters on the outside. A Library has to have something, a collection of somethings, available for use, taken and brought back, used in-house and not taken, used by many or by one.

Those who manage the Library in some way determine the value of it's contents. Those who use the Library in some way determine the value of those items used. Just because something is not contained in the Library does not mean it has no value. Allowing the valuable to hide within the worthless devalues the collection. Tossing out the valuable simply because its value is not recognized or understood lessens the collection.

I am trying to identify what "Library" means. The only way we can determine our scope and function is to understand the basic premise. What are we?

Gerald F. Ward

1 comment:

  1. Basically, we're just giving people what they are asking for. Or, rather, what the majority apparently wants (17).