Friday, November 27, 2015

Meanings of "the library"

“The library,” we find, “means” many things over time and throughout these essays. It is a collection of books, a center for scholarship, a universal memory, a maze or labyrinth, a repository of hidden or occulted knowledge, a sanctum, an archive for stories, a fortress, a space of transcendence, a focus of wealth and display, a vehicle of spirituality, an emblem of wisdom and learning, a mind or brain, an ordainer of the universe, a mausoleum, a time machine, a temple, a utopia, a gathering place, an antidote to fanaticism, a silent repository of countless unread books, a place for the pursuit of truth. A concept that has inspired many metaphors, the library as an idea has appealed to the human imagination throughout the ages and continues to do so today.
Alice Crawford, "Introduction," in Alice Crawford, ed., The Meaning of the Library (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 2015), p. xvi

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