I was recently reading a book and came across this quote from Albert Einstein, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination enriches the world." My first thought as I read those words by the brilliant Nobel-prize winning physicist was how they perfectly describe the public library.
Undoubtedly, most people associate knowledge with the public library. From door to door, shelf to shelf and floor to ceiling, it's a place teeming with information. From nonfiction collections in both the adult and youth departments to DVD documentaries to the Great Courses Collection, one can check out and learn across the broadest of subjects, topics and areas of interest. Bird identification, the history of the Roman Empire, baking bread, photography, creating a resume, Palouse history, dinosaurs, building a deck, dog training, medical conditions, origami, biographies, politics, bow hunting, budgeting, meditation, parenting, furniture making, crocheting, homesteading ...
What do you want to know or learn more about? The chances are the public library has what you want or can get it for you.
But Einstein's quote didn't focus on mere knowledge. He included and exalted the importance of imagination. And I believe the public library is ever as much about imagination as it is knowledge.
There are thousands of stories - in books and movies - whose very existence came into being via the imagination of their authors, writers and creators. These fictional tales inspire us, remind us and invite us to imagine - to be somewhere else, to be someone else, to lose our footing in reality and dive into the land of Other.
The public library is a place for both knowledge and imagination. But the public library is also about space. And a sense of space is critical to spelunking into the caverns of one's imagination. Imagination comes from within and we each need to take time and find spaces that foster and nurture our own imaginings.
So, I encourage you to come to the library and find a chair, a seat, a bench – a space that feels right to you and then … sit. Get comfortable being in that space with no agenda, no goal, no purpose - other than to let yourself "be." The stage is now set for imagining. Let your mind wander, your body relax and your heart seek its wonder. Ahh... yes ... to imagine is to "enrich the world."
All of us at Neill Public Library hope to see you soon and often. We'll help you find the sources of information you need related to knowledge and learning. And yes, we'll also let you just “be” so you can delightfully and joyfully imagine.