By: Shay Atluru, DTC President – Public libraries have historically served as the cornerstone of many communities throughout our great nation. They served as a place to read, learn, share, and commune.

Not just a home for books, they are a true public space for people from all walks of life to congregate almost in parallel play modality.

America is the only nation in the world to have an expansive public library system whereby its citizens can self-educate without oppression or tyranny. Our libraries are truly central to the democratic principles our founders had when they set this nation on its course.

As society depends more and more upon digital content and paperless media, one asks about the fate of our libraries. Certainly, an entire generation buys $5 coffees to sit at coffee shops to access Wi-Fi to research and browse.

But fear not: our libraries are evolving to be far more than a house of books.

Last night, we were present at Mayor Harp’s ribbon cutting of the New Haven Free Public Library’s recent renovations. DTC, while not working directly on this project, wrote the City’s Youth Study in 2014, which called for increased opportunities for City Teens (our client Bill MacMullen was the architect for these renovations).

These renovations included a vibrant tech-driven teen center within the library. It also included a performance space, a new large format books area, and fresh terminals and carrels.

I, however, was drawn into the stacks as I recalled a youth spent in libraries. There’s something so visceral and tangible as you look at the spines and read the titles, occasionally pulling one out and thumbing through it. You can walk through a library and travel to Istanbul, or learn to play the oboe. You can solve mysteries, or fall in love. Or, you can sit and enjoy a quiet moment.

And that’s the point. There are few places in the world where you can journey in so many directions with others that have their own itineraries.

Me? I walked through the instruments section and fell upon the recorded music section and settled in on this interesting tome:

library book

If you haven’t been to your local library recently, take a moment to stroll through the stacks and enjoy some of the more modern amenities they afford you.

Shay Atluru 

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