Tag Archives: politics
Guide to fictional Libraries #16 A Madrid Summer Night´s Dream pt 2 Sci- Fi
Madrid, the town I have chosen to call home for the last ten years, has a multitude of libraries that might well have fallen straight from the pages of a fantasy or science fiction novel. Despite drastic cuts carried out in the name of austerity, most of the libraries included here are open to the general public and I encourage the Madrileños to support their local with a visit.
For Sci-Fi we should start with my local, Pedro Salinas, in Puerta de Toledo, constructed in 1992 by Juan Navarro Baldeweg, zapped out of Terry Eagleton´s discworld.
La biblioteca Ana Maria Matute in Carabanchel, by RSP architects, like some crazy glass headed dinosaur.
The Rafael Alberti Library by Andrés Perea Ortega with its magnificent Mies van der Rohe facade:
The Gloria Fuertes public library whose cyclopian facade stares out over a bleak Barajas.
The Luis Martin Santos Library in Vallecas created by architects Mario San Juan Calle, Ángel Sevillano Martín e Iván Carpintero López enjoys some fantastic reading spaces:
The Jose Hierro library in Usera (Ábalos y Herreros, 2002) functionally designed to act as a “catalyst” in the local community.
The Mara Moliner Library by Miguel Cabanes Ginés, Elena Robles Alonso, Pedro Gambín Hurtado (2013)
The ESIC Library of Marketing Finance and Economy
Rather more well known is the library of the Reina Sofia modern art gallery by Jean Nouvel.
Leon Tolstoi in Las Rozas seems to have simply appeared out of nowhere since no reference to its construction can be found. An invisible architect?
Or how about the polytechnic University library, below?
And near to the Retiro these two gems:
Casa de Fieras:
Biblioteca Retiro in the Calle Doctor Esquerdo:These and other gems in the Community of Madrid have suffered cuts to services, budgets, opening times affecting users, collections, reading groups etc
Support your local library to avoid situations like this one (Bilblioteca Publica Joaquin Vilumbrales, Alcorcon) where local protest was necessary to restore their access to something like approaching a good library service.
Guide to fictional Libraries #15 Almost Fiction: Grayling’s Prison Libraries
Voices for the Library reports that Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, plans to restrict prisoners’ access to books and prison library services as part of changes to the punishment and reward system.
The move reinforces the idea of a prison system that is merely punitive rather than playing a rehabilitative role, preparing many citizens for reinsertion.
Access to books and reading extends opportunities for social participation, encourages reflection and helps develop a sense of social responsibility. It expands our ability to think about alternatives and evaluate our options, which for some may lead to strategies for avoiding criminal behaviour.
“Prisoners see themselves differently; they gain confidence and self-esteem. They talk about having hope for the future, often for the first time. They feel able to envisage a different future and develop new aspirations for themselves.” (Prisoners Education Trust 2008, p.2)
Furthermore where would some of our greatest literary works and writers be without access to paper, pen and reading material? To list but a few books at least partly written in while in prison:
The Travels of Marco Polo
Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
A Hymn to the Pillory, Daniel Defoe
De Profundis, Oscar Wilde
Our Lady of Flowers, Jean Genet
Justine, Marquis de Sade
Thomas Malory, Richard Lovelace, Walter Rayleigh, Chidiock Tichborne, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jack London, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela…(Oh and Mein Kampf by a certain Adolf somebody or other, but that doesn’t really serve my point so…)