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On the Road to the Pollard

The Pollard is featured in a unique library road trip undertaken this past summer by photographer Robert Dawson and his son, Walker. Dawson sees himself as an outside advocate for libraries and their role in shaping community.

As a teacher of photography at Stanford University in California, Dawson has worked for much of his career “on things that we share as Americans.” He says libraries have changed a great deal during the 17-year germination of the project. “They have been very flexible, and they are less about books and more about community,” but they are still “a critically important aspect of the shared commons that we have in this country.”

“Libraries are all local, and I am trying to look at it from a national perspective,” Dawson observes. “What struck me most is the vitality of libraries; they are all used a lot, partly because of access to computers, and poor people don’t necessarily have that at home. The vitality is the one thing that unified almost all the libraries that I went to.”

In eight weeks, the pair visited 189 libraries in 26 states—and fittingly enough they end their road trip at the Pollard, a library frequented by the original lonesome traveler, Jack Kerouac. Dawson’s wife, Ellen joined them for their New England leg of the journey. His blog has a great write up on their experience in Lowell as well as some gorgeous shots of the Pollard.

Thank you for visiting Mr. Dawson and thank you for standing up for libraries.