Long Table discussion – Are libraries neutral spaces?
The ‘Long Table’ is an experimental open public forum that is designed to facilitate dialogue by gathering together people with common interests. This Long Table will be hosted by Simon Chaplin (Director of Culture, The Wellcome Collection) and will ask the question, “are libraries neutral spaces”?
The debate over library neutrality is well established and growing. As libraries diversify their services, broaden their collections, deliver against competing agendas, and engage differently, with a variety of audiences, the debate surrounding neutrality is only likely to intensify. Can libraries ever be neutral spaces? Should they try to be? And, in the post-truth era, is library neutrality not only a fallacy, but a danger to informed debate?
The Long Table is a dinner party structured by etiquette, where conversation is the only course. It is at once a stylised appropriation and an open-ended, non-hierarchical format for participation. Everyone is welcome to join – you can simply listen, or become part of the conversation, as you wish.