There aren’t many buildings where you can be transported to various places without actually leaving the location you are. Not only can you travel to different places on Earth but also different times, centuries and you get to travel to places that don’t actually exist on a map but exist solely in your imagination. Places you get transported to because of your imagination and the words from the books coming from the travel book you are reading or the science fiction or fantasy book you are currently engrossed in.
I got reminded of this while reading an article by Neil Gaiman “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming”. When I first started in libraries in the 1990s, they were all about the books, magazines and cassette tapes and videos. DVDs weren’t even around then, yes I know this dates me, the biggest thing was having a library that had CDs. Back then libraries I went to only had 1 PC available for the public and there weren’t any games you could play only word processing software. Things changed slowly and now you will find libraries that have room full of computers, or large area set aside for a significant number of computers, areas set aside as makerspaces, where people can create 3D pieces of artwork as well as the books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and other collections. People now use libraries for more than just reading and information. They are now study areas, meeting places, places for social interaction. They have become a destination in themselves for some, whether because they need access to the computers to look for a job or finish typing up their assignment or they need information on the country they wish to visit. My library sometimes feels like a child minding service when all the kids come in but watching them go from playing Mine craft and other games and interacting with each other to searching for a particular book they want to read it reminds me why I became a librarian. To help people on their journey whether that journey involves finding their next fiction read or involves finding information to help with that assignment that’s due tomorrow. We all need to daydream sometimes.