The Irvington Library – Musings on the importance of public libraries in our lives and community….

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605

Irvington NY Public LibrarayThere are those who mock the importance of the public sector.  Often when they do, they take direct aim at institutions of knowledge such as our public libraries.   Personally, I don’t want to live in a world when a place where much of our collective knowledge is curated, cataloged and disseminated is considered unimportant.  Perhaps we don’t “go to the library” as much as we used to, but we “visit” the library online, can download ebooks and utilize its knowledge base to better ourselves.  Libraries also offer a quiet place for youngsters to study.  Something many of our less fortunate American youngsters do not have at home.   One might even say that an attack on our public libraries is an attack on the upward mobility.  And they aren’t just for the underprivileged, I grew up fairly wealthy but still remember very fondly the time I spent in the public library when I was in school.  Special programs spark young minds into thinking about careers that go beyond finance and Wall Street.  These same programs can also invigorate older brain cells to think in new directions.


Recently, I have seen in many quarters a disdain for information in favor of rumor and misinformation.  I find this trend very disturbing.  It is what is leading us pell mell into a race to the bottom.  Looking at our “soundbite” crazy and generally “fact-free” presidential elections I am dismayed at our disregard for knowledge and even academia itself.  I happen to have a doctorate -but I’m almost afraid to admit as much – just in case someone think that I’m a snobby “elite”.

Libraries offer a place to study, to learn and explore.  I’m sorry if many of you think they are a waste of time and money.  Knowledge is power and education is not folly.  Yes, facts can sometimes interfere with beliefs or strongly held opinions.  I say embrace the facts and embrace knowledge.  Ignorance is NOT bliss.

Anyway, those were my thoughts while I was snapping photos of this marvelous structure. I was also encouraged to see two rather young patrons exiting the library as I was taking the shot below….

Irvington  NY Public Library - Patrons leaving

The Irvington Library – Musings on the importance of public libraries in our lives and community….

The Irvington Library – Musings on the importance of public libraries in our lives and community….

© 2012 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – First posted in – All rights reserved.

Comments (11)

Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

For the last 15 years I am not with a library. Internet pretty much replaced it for me.

Yes, books were huge part of my life when I was younger. Library was very importnat... but there were no computers at that time

It is all changing. I am writing this at 2:50 AM, this is the convenience of the Internet. It is a library 24/7 and pijamas are fine as dress code (LOL)

Aug 26, 2012 04:50 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Ruthmarie..... I'd be very upset if our local library were grandchildren visit there and participate in many programs.... seniors in town use it and hopefully other school aged children are required to use it for research papers....there should be a requirement that all sources must not be limited to online research.... Benjamin Franklin donated a set of books to our town and resulted in our town being known as the First Public Library in the country.... those books are on display in our beautiful's a very important piece of history.... how sad to think of closing that building.

Aug 26, 2012 06:53 PM
Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Center Moriches, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

I have not been to a public library in more years than I can remember, however I always seek knowledge. Rich and I literally have thousands of books in our home not to mentions the books on our IPads, Kindles... we are both avid readers and always looking to learn.  I do not believe local libraries have no value but I think in time they will fade away. What saddens me is the lack of interest most have in learning anything! Have a Happy Day and thanks for your thoughts.

Aug 26, 2012 09:56 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Good morning, Ruthmarie -- what a great post and a tribute to the very idea of the library system and its importance to so many of our communities.  Not just a holding place for books many libraries are an active part where people gather, learn and explore.  PS -- the Irvington Library is certainly an imposing architectural presence.  

Aug 26, 2012 10:56 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

There are very few public thing that are so free and filled with value and a knowlege like a library. I commend you for this post!

Aug 26, 2012 11:14 PM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Jon, But in our area you are either poor or you are rich. You can relax on the internet late at night as I can, but many can't afford an internet connection, let alone the computer or iPad that goes with it.  The White Plains Library is not so picturesque (it was built in the 1970s and has that square concrete look we all love to hate) so it wasn't part of the photo.  However, it is a very useful building.  People who can not AFFORD subscriptions to let's say the newspaper - can go to the library and read it.  People who are job hunting spend a great deal of time there. Kids who have no quiet place to study who live in poor neighborhoods can have a quiet corner to read and learn.  Libraries are equalizers.   With the middle class hanging by a thread - they are needed more than ever.  

Also- who curates all this data? Don't say "Google"....Google will rank for popularity, but it won't rank for content and if something isn't popular - it will be on p. 5000 even if it is vitally important.  Libraries curate material.  I was in graduate school when everything went online...but the journals I needed were curated and catalogued by the Albert Einstein Library.  If I needed help narrowing a search - I went to the librarains because they knew how to get at the data that I needed.   At the public library it is similar.  

There is a lot of "junk" at the top of major search engine searches - lots of repeats to the same source.  But a library actually lets you reserach in a coordinated way. Methodical curation and cataloging of materials is not something the private sector is going to do. Its not profitable but it is vital.  For example, if I was searching for something in my former field  - I wouldn't go  to Google for let's say "signal transduction pathways that impact marginal zone B cell developement".  I would get part of the story from Google, but it would skip over papers that might prove vital to my search.  No, I would go to MedLine....(PubMed) which is run by the NIH....through their library system - a not-for-profit organization.  Why?  Because they aren't looking to make money, they are interested in disseminating information - so they do a better job than Google for things of that nature. 

Aug 27, 2012 01:39 AM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Barbara - what a great story about the Library in Franklin....I have to look back in your blog history.  Did you do a story on it  that I missed out on?   Great topic for local content.  And I could well see that Benjamin Franklin would want to give knowledge to the masses.   

Aug 27, 2012 01:59 AM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Beth, It is for those that can't afford thousands of books and iPads and Kindles that the library is for.  In White Plains you can dowload some books online from our library system.  So there is something for everyone.  For those who can't afford the virtual world - they can go to the library and access information.  But too can benefit from the library by downloading books temporarily for free -rather then purchasing them.

Aug 27, 2012 02:01 AM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Michael - thank you for understanding what I wrote and why.  I feel that libraries in our area are in he cross-hairs of the slash and burn sentiment for public sector services. 

Hi Laura - This is true.  And as libraries adjust to the digital age, they have more challenges.  Many can't afford th wonderful gadgets that we spend our lives reading and tapping on. But for those that use Kindles and iPads, the library is trying to become relevant there as well.

Aug 27, 2012 02:04 AM
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

Our local school just informed the library that 'they would no longer be providing funding to the library'. Plenty of money for sports and rehabbing the new administrators office, but no money for the library!

Aug 27, 2012 03:47 AM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Than,  That's called "messed up priorities!" Sports has its place, but it shouldn't supercede learning - and the administrators office? Don't get me started.

Aug 27, 2012 04:07 AM