Letters for a New Library May 6, 2011 – Tags: ,

To commemorate, celebrate and promote the opening of the new public library in Troy, Michigan in 1971 children’s librarian Marguerite Hart sent letters to a slew of notable figures asking them to “write a letter to the children of Troy about the importance of libraries, and their memories of reading and of books.”

Hart received 97 letters in return “from individuals who spanned the arts, sciences, and politics across the50 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, the Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.” From Saul Alinsky to Vincent Price, from Isaac Asimov to the Pope, the letters provide a cultural snapshot of the early 1970’s and convey the essence of the value of libraries. 

The Troy Public Library has archived all 97 letters here.

Sadly, the Troy Public Library, like many public libraries across the country, is fighting for its very life. Originally slated to close on May 1st due to budget woes, the city council voted in mid-April to keep it open temporarily.

Perhaps the current librarian can replicate Hart’s achievement by sending letters to today’s cultural leaders, asking them to write letters to the city council on what it might mean to live in a community without a library.

Thanks to Letters of Note for the lead

« Target brings haiku to the masses
The Monobookist Invades New York »