Brooke Gladstone

Brooke Gladstone: Libraries are sanctuaries

"Libraries are a miracle. There are a million doors, they're all unlocked and you can walk through any one of them."

Libraries are sanctuaries, and they're places to escape to and they're places that enable you to escape anywhere you live.

So libraries are a miracle, in a sense. There are a million doors, they're all unlocked and you can walk through any one of them.

My love of reading fostered in large part by my parents' reading to me. And I know that that's what libraries do for thousands upon thousands of kids whose parents don't read to them. You can have a love of reading instilled in a place like a library.

My parents used to take me to it. It was adjunct to their absolute worship of books and our house was full of them But even for children whose houses aren't full of books, they have the library.

I would say that I think my favorite librarian is probably Judith Krug, who died in 2009. She was the creator of Banned Books Week, which was an opportunity for all of us to remember how important it is guard our freedom of speech and to safeguard it even for people with whom we don't agree.

Judith Krug once said, "Real speech freedom is guaranteeing the rights of people who you wouldn't want to take home to dinner." And I understand that, she understood it, and I think it's in the culture of American libraries to understand that free speech doesn't work unless it's for everybody.

[On censorship] I think it is, like so many excessive actions, the result of fear. I think people are afraid to expose others to ideas that they find abhorrent, but you can't prevent people from being exposed to ideas.

More and more,  if there is an idea, it will out, and some of them are abhorrent, and some of them you just don't agree with, but the idea is simply to fight speech with more speech, and that's something that librarians inherently understand.

"On the Media" is seen by about a million people each week and it is, I think, part of an effort on the part of many people, especially library systems, to propogate some of the basic principles of media literacy, so people can navigate the information avalanche better.

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Book Title: 

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media