Discussion Topic: Libraries as Place – Guest hosted by QUTISG

Our next discussion topic is guest hosted by the Queensland University of Technology Information Studies Group with the team exploring the the topic of libraries as place.  Today’s post comes from Dr Kate Devitt:

2011/365/49 Learning is Here by Alan Levine used under Creative Commons  BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

2011/365/49 Learning is Here by Alan Levine used under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

Libraries are a place of community, learning, living and connecting

Libraries are places. If an office is a place of work, a playground is a place of play, a church is a place of worship, then libraries are a place of what?

Libraries are places of community, learning, living, and connecting.


Libraries are places of community. They display and engage local history and cultural celebrations that bind communities together. Libraries forge a sense of community for the dislocated, shy and abandoned. Libraries welcome the vivacious and generous and shelter the sad, lonely and desperate. Every reader their book.


Libraries are places of learning. They inspire us to learn more by physically and virtually mapping knowledge in logical systems and making it easy for us to access information. Our learning journey is our own, but libraries are our provisions and sometimes the vessel itself.


Libraries are places of living. I’ve used a library bathroom as I moved from one obligation to another. I’ve asked librarians directions to other places. I’ve huddled in a library in tears as a place of refuge. I’ve obfuscated myself into the dark corrals in a library basement to study archaic texts from wise sages. I live in libraries. Some of my best quality of life has been walking up the stairs of a library to go to work. I love librarians morning teas. Libraries are places of enthusiasm, care and passion for secret knowledge. I have slept in the corners of libraries when pregnant (shhh!). I’ve gazed out at a crush over the balcony of a library as he sought out his readings for the week. I live in libraries.


Libraries are places of connecting. Our social networks grow more illuminating, multi-faceted and safe when we engage with libraries and information practice. Improvements in online information skills help us communicate with friends, families, and government agencies. In libraries we might connect with other local mums and set up play dates, or bond over a coffee, sharing book passions and life tricks. Or, we might meet friends or colleagues in a study room in a library, or play music together with our peers.

What kind of place is a library to you?

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2016B and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Wow! Everything that happens and can happen in our space!
    Thanks for saying Dr. Devitt!
    I love it and I’m trying a little of everything happens!
    I love my “second home”!

  2. Last year I made a career change from academic libraries to public libraries. It has been an amazing experience in seeing the impact that a vibrant public library can have on it’s community. From the guy who lives in his car to the professor who is both a teacher and a student. Your article is absolutely spot on in the areas (circles) that “the library as place” touches. On the issue of “connecting”, I so wish that my library had a coffee shop. It would make a huge difference in the lives of the lonely, the eager, the active, etc. I see people chatting and looking around for a place that they could sit down. Unfortunately, we have so little space that this is not possible and is a gap in our service to our patrons.

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