I had the opportunity to say a few remarks at the opening of a new branch of the King County Library System in the Lakehills neighborhood of Bellevue on Saturday. It’s lovely. I’ve opened many new facilities, from skateboard parks to low-income housing and it’s always difficult to come up with something that’s relevant, interesting and brief.
In this case I resolved to not say anything about the 9/11 tragedy as I was sure other people would and we were opening a library – it didn’t seem relevant. I talked about how the KCLS had evolved way beyond being just a box of books. The Internet has changed how libraries function, and KCLS has done a great job of staying relevant.
One of the other speakers brought in a comment I though particularly valuable, and I wish I had thought of it. Libraries are symbolic – they represent the best of us. They are a place open to everyone (even, or perhaps especially the homeless person who came through looking for the snacks,) they don’t serve any single political ideology, and they are quiet. On the day the nutjob in Florida was going to burn Korans, we opened a new facility that holds information about everything and everyone, including copies of the great books for every major religion in the world. It’s the ultimate expression of what we believe to be important.
Go visit the new branch. It’s great. http://www.kcls.org/bond/lakehills/