Thursday, February 07, 2008

"long prepared and graced with courage"

John Lonergan, Governor of Mountjoy Prison, speaking at a recent library conference said that it was not books, it was not the internet, rather it was people who came into the library who were important.
He advised: "especially the people at the bottom....... listen to them, hear what they have to say." He said that we were not there to worry or to be concerned about what the Minister thought or what those in authority wanted. No….he said that "we need to make those at the bottom feel welcome in our libraries."
And he continued: "People who need warmth and love in their lives........ and who have missed out on these things in their lives....... dealing kindly and helpfully with these people will repay us a thousand fold, both personally and in terms of the library service."

His words brought to mind some of the lines of the Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy who wrote; ....."let us be long prepared and graced with courage."

Here is a variation on that poem by Cavafy:
"As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who were given this honour of working in a library,
go firmly to engage your readers each day
and listen with deep emotion
listen to the voices
to the exquisite music of that strange procession
of people who regularly visit."

Cavafy's portrait by artist
Panagiotis Gravallos


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