On hearing that Germaine Greer easily Australia’s greatest writer is providing (for a modest sum – which she in turn is giving to charity) her archival papers to the University of Melbourne archive. I find it sufficient reason to provide a couple of quotes, neither of which are particularly true…
Greer - A library is a place where you can lose your innocence without losing your virginity.
Susan Ryan on Greer - Women who were housewives, who were pretty miserable … felt inspired by her book [The Female Eunuch]and their life changed. They didn’t become megastars, but they became a librarian or something.
Why such an important national figure’s archival collection is not going to the National Library is obvious, but why is that so - well, never mind, never mind.
“But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.
I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally.
I think it has to do with nature of information. Information has value, and the right information has enormous value. For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something: when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories – they were always good for a meal and company. Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service.
In the last few years, we’ve moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003. That’s about five exobytes of data a day, for those of you keeping score. The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need.”