Monday, February 2, 2009

MIS - "Race & Place"

“Our policies and rationalizations do not drive the bus, We do. Yellow palaces and white cathedrals exist because we who work in libraries create them as well as the distances between them. We want to believe that libraries are politically neutral and colorblind. To sustain this belief we close our eyes as we steer. But who gets run over in the process?”

This excerpt is from the final words of “Race & Place” which I believe closes the writing up very well. I think this quote does a great job of highlighting the problems that affect not only our libraries but our society as well. The difference between the two libraries in this story exemplifies that libraries reflect the social and economic situations of the neighborhoods they reside in. The “Yellow Palace” with its anti-theft bars and undersized rooms reflects the run-down, poorer side of town versus the great “White Cathedral” that is placed among the wealthier population. The question of, “Who gets run over in the process?” puts the reader in the shoes of someone who lives in the poorer side of town. Why should someone be restricted in opportunities and ability to access information because of their economic status? An even better point is questioning why we are closing our eyes to these problems instead of fixing them. The author’s closing points do an excellent job of opening the eyes of the reader to the many problems of our society and the importance of a Library and its impact on its surrounding neighborhood.


  1. I strongly agree with what you are saying here. When i read the article, I didn't think of the last sentences as recommending placing myself in the author's shoes when she was a little girl growing up in a poor community, but it is a great way to realize what she is trying to say here. Imagining who gets run over is easier when you can put yourself in her shoes, or anyone else's from her town. I also think it is important that her herself works in the the library system, so not only is she calling out her co-workers, but she is also calling herself out for not doing enough to fix the problem.

  2. I also agree with what Kevin is saying here. Often times, we see the at risk and needy places being "run over". Great analysis Kevin.