Saturday, September 11, 2004

Role the library plays: Books in my Boat

Discovered yet another Asian Liblogarian - olkgal. I read her blog on What role is the library supposed to play? Olkgal asks if the library is becoming an education institution, and whether it can become a learning centre. I posted a comment, which I'll repeat here:
I'm thinking of the public library, which in its essence, still has a very straight-forward role. It's to let the Ordinary Joes & Janes like me experience the world without having to physically travel (how many countries can I travel in my lifetime?). To allow me to learn from Harvard professors without having to enroll in Harvard (what are the chances of me getting enrolled?) To allow me a glimpse into the thoughts of the Lee Kuan Yews, Margaret Thatchers, of people long gone. To buy me that little time, to escape into the a fantasy world where I can forget my worldly worries as long as I keep turning the pages.
A poem just came into my head -- I'm calling it:
Books In My Boat
Read to me, my love
Open up my eyes

As I row our boat
Gently down this stream

Merrily, merrily
Passing through

This Dream
Which we call Life
Ivan Chew, Sept 11, 2004



  1. Anonymous7:56 pm

    Hi Ivan,

    Inspiring poem. I agree with you - books/reading - it's about Life.

    Row your boat happens to be one of my favorite. I rocked my cat to an undeserved prematured death from indigestion .. (well, spare u the details)- while singing that song. I was 4.

    Back to the discussion- I do not quite know about roles of libraries.

    But to me, who has frequented the red brick building since I was 6, "libraries" has become fragments of my life's unforgettable experiences.

    I am sure many of us have gone through some formal education where we spent a few thousand hours memorising books and what we intended to memorize - are what we forget the most things about. But I am sure that does not matter now as those memorised stuff are things you will not need to know in this life.

    But I could miraculously remember the trolls from the fairytale books I have checked out from that red brick building, I could remember the cartoons from James Thurber, I could remember the sex advice from books about teens, I could remember how I read a dozen books about catamarans cos the guy I had a crush on owned one, I could remember how I savored every Runners Magazine cos I adored Sebestian Coe and my boyfriend in the college track n field team. I could remember how my mum got so freaking mad cos I painted the tiles according to the book "Creative Bathrooms".


  2. Your last para -- that's the best endorsement about (public) libraries I've come across so far! : )


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