A Place Not a Place: Reflection and Possibility in Museums and Libraries

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Museums and libraries inspire us to cross the limits of routine thought, into experiences of reflection and possibility. Each of the essays in A Place Not a Place examines the ways these and other cultural institutions influence us and proposes ways to strengthen their role as advocates for critical thinking and inquiry.

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Editorial Reviews

Robert S. Martin
This remarkable book reminds us of and reinforces in us the critical role that libraries and museums play in our society — instruments of our persistent pursuit of our own identities and ideal selves. Every library and museum professional will profit from David Carr’s thoughtful observations and careful articulation of what really goes on within our walls.
The value of this book is Carr's passionate commitment to the possibilities within cultural institutions and his insistence that we aspire to actualize them in our own work, lives, and institutions.
David Henry
In A Place, Not a Place, David Carr, with the voice of a poet, articulates the condition of an open mind free to roam — from place to place and from time to time — and thus free to discover. For him, learning is the highest art, and he is a master practitioner.
GladysAnn Wells
Would that all cultural or public officials had David Carr's ability, even determination, to observe, to explain, and to share insights about the role of our cultural institutions in our communities.
Elaine Heumann Gurian
David Carr writes using beautiful, often poetic words that emulate the elusive magical act of learning that he writes about. Into his writing, he weaves palpable descriptions of the cultural places he extols, carefully chosen theorists that illuminate his (and ultimately our) thinking, and the wonder and excitement of the learners. His book is a journey we get caught up in and become enriched by.
Steve Sumerford
Once again David Carr has written a book that gently challenges us to rethink the mission of our cultural institutions. He reminds us that a library or a museum has an almost mysterious power over a community and that these public spaces offer each individual and each community a promise that is ineffable but real. As a practicing librarian, I find David Carr's insightful and provocative essays to be a refreshing change from the "how-to" books that are so commonly found on the shelves of librarians. If you want to understand the future of cultural institutions, throw away the how-to books and read A Place Not a Place.
Robert A. Kret
This thoughtful and intelligent collection of essays about the amazing potential of museums and libraries is a resource for readers to return to time and again. It can be challenging to rise above the day-to-day demands of running a museum, but David Carr offers an inspiring path for cultural institutions continually striving to improve lives in their communities.
September 2008 Texas Association Of Museums
The book itself is terrific...a bedside read every bit as much as deserving a place (on) the office bookshelf.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759110199
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/25/2006
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

David Carr teaches at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His essays, articles and reviews have appeared in Museum News, Curator, Public Libraries, and in other journals and collections.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Reflective Users Chapter 2 1. The Cognitive Management of Cultural Institutions Chapter 3 2. What I Saw in the Museum Chapter 4 3. What I Read in the Library Chapter 5 4. Wanting, at Ten Chapter 6 5. Rescuing the User Chapter 7 6. Reading Beyond the Museum Chapter 8 7. Five Thoughtful Exercises Chapter 9 8. Observing Collaboration Chapter 10 9. What Do We Want Chapter 11 10. Heroic Life, Learning Life Chapter 12 11. Memory Chapter 13 12. A Place Not a Place Chapter 14 13. Invisible Actions, Invisible Traces

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