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May 24, 2007

Bernard Margolis is President of the Boston Public Library (BPL). Founded in 1848, it was the first large free municipal library in the United States. Mr. Margolis has served on the Governing Council of the 63,000-member American Library Association (ALA), and has won many awards including “Colorado Librarian of the Year", two John Cotton Dana library public relations awards, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ “Award of Excellence? for his library-sponsored “Imagination Celebration."

He’s also a master storyteller as you’ll find out. We talk here about libraries as a public good, a culture of words and books designed to help everyone improve their lives, French ventriloquist and originator of the concept of the modern library Alexandre Vattemare (1796-1864), the U.S. as a leader in realizing this concept, immigration and self learning, an informed citizenry as the best defense of liberty, democratic access to information, BPL as the first to have a newspaper room, branch libraries and a separate children’s room, the Red Sox and the Yankees, why the ebook hasn’t replaced the paperback, Brewster Kahle versus Google and the Internet archive, and the question of whether or not information will be ‘free for all’ to improve the world.