Many libraries are free and open to the public, this phenomena is recent since the literacy rate of the pupulous has increased dramatically in recent times. These libraries are open to anyone who wants to visit the location. Many institutional libraries are only available for members of that institution or guests of members. Many school libraries are like this, in order to protect the collection for use by scholars or parties who will respect the information to be found inside. But some libraries are even more private than this. Many archives are stored never to be seen by members of the public. Or even in more public libraries there are rare book rooms or special collections where one can only browse while monitored by staff. The books in these realms are often valuable or safeguarded by institutions for undisclosed reasons. There are many levels of privacy when it comes to information available to the public.
For my Project I chose to investigate the Providence Public Library for its relationship to the public's education. The inclusion of Public in the name implies some transparency and open-ness to the visitor. In my case my project is non-specific to THIS library but would apply to all libraries that contain public in the name.
To publish is to turn something from a private piece to a public piece for the world to lay eyes on. And the library is the main venue for viewing these public works. But not all published information is considered public information. This grey area is where I would like to draw my attentions for this project.
Transparency with the public, is a part of the public library I admire. Currently, the United States of America stands at a crossroads between public and private. Our democratic government depends on transparency in order to function as a democracy. If the people are unaware of governmental actions, then they are unable to function as an informed electorate and are therefore unrepresented by the government as a population. The freedom to choose in this country is entirely dependent on a knowledge of our representatives actions.
More and more our government hides its actions, not in the interest of the population but in order to override public opinion and create corrrupt systems that will not be voted upon by the people. It is only in the government’s own interest to keep these actions from the people, because if these policies went to be voted upon by the people its would most likely be unpopular. (ex. NSA collection of information Edward Snowden documents, Trans- Pacific Partnership Trade agreement wikileaked) Out of frustration with these phenomena has grown groups like Anonymous (online activists) and Wikileaks, as well as many whistleblowers who are now being heavily targeted by the obama administration.
What happens when these secrets, which are safeguarded by the many governments and institutional boundries, become public. We have seen these things become published and received with mass public outrage. There are an increasing number of things being written and analyzed about these kinds of leaked information. But even once it is leaked by wikileaks they’re still hard to find/understand the effects that they have on our lives. They’re also not widely available outside of specialized politically leaning bookstores and on wikileaks itself.
It is time for these resources to be brought to the public. It is time for our government to treat its people with the respect we deserve. It is time for governmental processes to become transparent.