Wednesday, June 22, 2011

American Commons Photographing Public Libraries

An American Commons
Photographing Public Libraries
Across the Nation
6/24 – 8/15/11

Follow Robert Dawson and his son, Walker, across the United States as they photograph public libraries in some 22 states: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and New England.

This project is a photographic survey of public libraries throughout the United States. There are more than 17,000 public libraries in this country. Since Dawson began the project in 1994, he has photographed hundreds of libraries in nineteen states. From Alaska to Florida and from New England to California the photographs show a vibrant, essential yet threatened system.

The modern library in the computer age is in the midst of reinventing itself. What belongs in a library? In what form do we want to preserve information and culture? More books are being published than ever before, yet library budgets are shrinking. More is also being demanded of our libraries as they move beyond being centers for books to becoming centers for community. People without homes often find libraries to be one of the few safe places as homeless shelters are cut back. Access to the Internet is increasingly necessary to function in our society and many people have only the library to connect to the web. READ MORE !

Examples of earlier work 1994 – 2011

Founder and co-director of the Water in the West Project
Instructor of Photography at San Jose State University
Instructor of Photography at Stanford University

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is such a great and valuable project. For anyone interested, the photographer is trying to raise funds on Kickstarter to finish the road trip: Library Road Trip
And thank you to all the librarians fighting to save this public resource.