Do You Think There Is a Problem with The Word ‘Library’?


To set the stage, let’s take a little journey back in time to the origins of libraries to trace how they came to be what they are today. Libraries, of course, are a result of the invention of writing. So far as we know, the Sumerians invented writing—cuneiform, which was wedge-shaped writing on clay tablets—about 3000 b.c. in the cradle of civilization, between the Tigris and Euphrates River, now present day Iraq.



I know English is a funny language and the tongue doesn’t have a bone. Which is why phonetics could convey something that we are not supposed to interpret but yet we will.



Breaking up the word library, in the phonetic sense of the word, it would begin with ‘lie‘ and then ‘brary‘. Truth be told, that is a lie. Nothing could be farther than the truth. A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life. A library is like a salve, a retreat, a treasure trove precisely for what lies inside it. A heady mix of ‘dine in and take away‘.



So, I won’t lie. Would ‘ truthbrary ‘ be a better term for a library?  Let the rant continue. Read on..



Library is the place where our self life has a shelf life. The happy domicile at the intersection of the self taught and the shelf taught. Libraries are the great equalizers in combating the digital divide and the information divide. It is the last man standing amongst institutions that are part of the public good.



“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” Albert Einstein



The perennial, uninterrupted, democratic access to information is the be all and end all. Which is what you find in a library. Books. That are weapons, of mass construction!



“At the dawn of the 21st century, where knowledge is literally power, where it unlocks the gates of opportunity and success, we all have responsibilities as parents, as librarians, as educators, as politicians, and as citizens to instill in our children a love of reading so that we can give them a chance to fulfill their dreams.” Barack Obama



A lot of us have taken libraries for granted. They have been integral to our education, to our life, and obviously, to our careers. Being in libraries and using books has been normal; libraries as places have been “like home” to us. I’ll bet most of you have had the same experience with libraries, be they school, public, university, medical, hospital—or whatever. Truth be told, libraries have been an integral part of our lives. Truthbrary!



I don’t think I’ll be able to help you find that.
No librarian, ever.




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