You got to hand it to the Escondido city council: they know how to dream big. Confronted with the idea of just expanding the aging library, they seemed to have reached the consensus that they want to go big or go home! (see our story, Page 1)
If you’ve ever attended a city council meeting in person or on TV you would never think that these dignified, staid public servants would verbally jump up and down in glee at the idea of building a big and beautiful library and plunking it down next to the city hall in Grape Day Park.
But they are, as Mayor Sam Abed declared, “passionate” about a library.
Councilor John Masson, quoting from some rap song by Eminem, declared “Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”
Aside from the fact that this sentiment is—well— rap, and doesn’t rhyme, it does resonate. There is nothing that says you have a great city that cares about the quality of life of its residents more than a great library. And a great library can resonate down through the ages. Just ask the citizens of Alexandria, whose library was one of the wonders of the Ancient World.
Today Escondido’s library serves more residents per day than any other civic service. Libraries are far more than book repositories, although that still remains its most visible and possibly important function. Libraries are today’s public forum, where the folks meet to talk, debate and do civic things. You can also check out books and recordings of just about any kind of music—even rap. You can use one of the many computers with internet connection. You can buy used books. You can store history collections.
As Jorge Luis Borges once said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
I agree, and most book lovers would agree, so I think we can all get behind the idea of creating a little corner of paradise on Grape Day Park. Now all we have to do is get the voters to go along with it.