The library I grew up with: with shelves of books, oak tables and even that smell of books. It was a part of my life, and I understand why patrons of the Oakley, Swannanoa and Black Mountain libraries are resistant to change, especially changes to their “community.”
Even the new East Asheville library leaves me cold: compartmentalized with small rooms for gathering. Google will only show what is popular, not what is the best.
If I am allowed to quote Caitlan Moran, a British journalist, on libraries: “A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. … They are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen, instead. … A mall [or shopping on Amazon is] … where your money makes the wealthy wealthier. But a library is where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary, instead.”
Oakley, Swannanoa and Black Mountain would be diminished by the disappearance of these public places — a refuge for many of us.
— Roger Turner