Thursday, April 12

the shawshank redemption and a defense of libraries

The Shawshank Redemption is a fantastic film, we can move past that point. But when discussing libraries (and marketing) I often remember Andy Dufresne's persistance in writing a letter a week to the state house asking for funds to buy more books and supplies. It is a crystal clear example of inserting yourself into the conversation that has to continue for public libraries to survive. Of course, once he gets a check and a few boxes of weeded books (after 6 years of writing) he doubles his efforts and writes two letters a week. Well played.

There is another scene though that even more forcefully makes the case for public access to knowledge, and the ensuing power it leverages; known as suds on the roof. Can't embed it but watch it here, created by user Azorzetto.

"And that’s how it came to pass that on the second last day of the job, the convict crew that tarred the plate factory roof in the spring of ‘49 wound up sitting in a row at ten o’clock in the morning drinking icy cold Bohemia-style beer, courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank State Prison.

You could argue he’d done it to curry favor with the guards or maybe make a few friends among us cons. Me? I think he just did it to feel normal again, if only for a short while."
-Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding
Thinking about this the first time the scene seems to illustrate some kind of superiority of Andy over the guards due to pure knowledge. But listening to Red it is something other than that. An even greater ability via learned information that allows Andy to create normalcy in a dire circumstance, if only for a short while...