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This is National Library Week. As a BIG fan of public libraries I feel compelled to write a post about this unbelievably awesome institution. The audacity of this idea, that knowledge has to be within easy reach for the general public free of cost, is so beautiful that sometimes I find it hard to believe that it actually materialized!

With continued talk of funding issues and budget cuts, I know many libraries are struggling to provide all the services. I also know that many folks feel that with e-readers and Wikipedia there’s little use for traditional libraries any more. Not true. If we as a society choose to commit to books, education, culture and knowledge, there’ll always be need for libraries. It is a place I learnt the joy of walking in and browsing and making random discoveries and it has been a privilege to see my children walk the same path. I have loved the opportunities to rent exercise videos and foreign films, the chance to attend library performances and the occasions to take my children to workshops. In our house, it is a place which is associated with all kinds of positive memories: the place where we go to stock up for long winter weekends and the place where we rush when in extreme author-glom mode. I dont believe I can say this of too many other things with equal conviction – I have never left a library feeling disappointed!

It gave me great joy to find this among the Webby Award nominees for 2012. (As an aside, it is a great place to find some wonderful websites because it is after all honoring the best of the Internet! – I know, like you don’t already have enough sites to track!)

I love the way they have used social media to generate a conversation. Isn’t it nice the way three of my favorite things – libraries, social media and activism – all came together in that video?

I believe the National Library Week is an US tradition, but libraries the world over need acknowledgement. Hope you get the time to stop by your nearest library this week and as you step in I wish for you the spurt of joy that I feel as I enter mine!

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