2012 has officially started here at the Library Society, as this week saw our big January kick off the (264th) Annual Meeting. As the Library becomes increasingly modern (we've got an iPad now, it must be true), it is more and more interesting to think about the world this institution was created in.
In 1748, Charleston would have been less than eighty years old, with a population well under 10,000. Altogether elsewhere... Adam Smith was delivering his first lectures in Edinburgh, which would attract the attention of David Hume and kick off the Scottish Enlightenment. The War of Austrian Succession ended with Prussia the rising star on the European stage. Leonhard Euler wrote the most important math textbook of the modern era; Montesquieu published The Spirit of the Laws and invented political sociology; and in a lonely English prison cell, John Cleland penned Fanny Hill, the English language's first er... "adult" novel.
It was, in many ways, a very modern world, and at the far edge of the English-speaking part of it, nineteen young men created a very modern institution. Pooling their resources to increase their access to knowledge and learning, and to promote that learning among future generations, the mission of the Library is as important now as it's ever been. It's a mission we're fully embracing in 2012, and your loyal blogger can't wait to share the manifold ways we're pursuing it in this new year.
It's going to be a great 2012!