Libraries stand for freedom. Keeping libraries open, making books accessible, allows people to connect with another mind through the printed word. Libraries make possible these intense, vivid, private relationships. The essence of how human beings communicate with each other – at the most sophisticated and intelligent level – is found in the meeting of the minds of writers and readers. Writers want to be read. They don't expect everyone to agree with or love them, necessarily, but they long to make connections with others. This is a fundamental desire for all of us, and libraries are important custodians of this yearning. They are among the most important meeting places that a culture can have.
All who work for the good of public libraries know that we will need some careful navigation to get them to a safer harbour. But this we must do. Our links to the past, our bonds with the present, our path to a civilized tomorrow are all maintained by libraries. They are agencies of the public good. They allow all of us to be, as the Hebrew saying goes, pilgrims at the gate of a new city. They are sources of knowledge and imagination, and they never allow us to forget that we are always at a threshold, constantly at the verge of creating anew our civil society. Whether or not we are able to see it realized in our own lifetimes, all of us, as individuals and in our communities, are striving for that city – that eternal city of the good and the beautiful and the true. And the public library, for me, has always been a lovely part of that vision.
source: Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson
Speech on the Occasion of a Luncheon Hosted by the Regina Public Library
Regina, Monday, May 16, 2005