Happy Cities Series: Reading Cities – Libraries

Expanding on the post about the 7 activities for happiness (and happy cities).  Here are my thoughts on what would be “Reading Cities”.   Reading cities would have books, libraries,  great schools, vibrant publishing industry, great streets with used book stores, and quiet places and trees to sit under to read book.

The Hornery Institute is passionate about libraries and has been involved in exploring their on-going relevance to communities across Australia. To me it is a public institute which perhaps to some has gotten a daggy reputation.  It is a place you might use more in high school, that if you buy books you might never visit one, and since the internet sometimes I wonder if the book is slowly becoming redundant.

Hornery Insitute quote “The UNESCO manifesto (1994) describes public libraries as the ‘living force of education, culture and information’. They are a part of everyday life in Australia and are widely regarded as agents for positive change in communities promoting community literacy, social networks and resources for leisure and entertainment from cradle to grave and without social, financial or educational barriers”.

It is indeed a community public space that does SO much, but goes under appreciated by most. During my time in BCC Multicultural Team, I saw some of the partnerships of Library Services and also like public transit to me they are this fascinating area of a “public space” and untapped community awesomeness.   It is a service (books, internet, rooms) but also venue for programming, festivals, events, talks.

In recent months, I found myself a growing fan of libraries, because of .

A) Wireless and free internet.  In my transition back to Brisbane, and to Toronto these places were my saving grace

B) Borrowing books – saving money and space.  As I packed up my bags and had to really consider how much can 2 suitcases carry I thought books are heavy!  One I wanted to take is “the art of looking sideways” a book of random creative things – but it’s like Bruce Mau XS,S, M, L size –  a giant doorstop that is airline unfriendly!

C) A public space to kill time, and iconic stunning buildings to visit. I went to see the New York one, I saw the new one in Montreal – nice architectural design, and the Parliamentary one in Ottawa is a sweet octagonal like building

Funny, my sister is a collector of books, and they currently sit in many bookshelves at my parents house.   She has a dream room in her dream house that like you see in old movies – the need for a ladder because it is floor to ceiling, wall to wall books. Library/reading room, I imagine it also with a large bay window with a seat as a reading nook.  I always wanted a bay window.

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