I stopped into the library in Ontario, NY, a small town just east of Rochester.
Libraries are on my mind as the right spaces for presentations and conversations around the creation of latitude communities- local communities that share the same latitude line around the world.
Small town libraries are critical resources- they are spaces to meet, they hold knowledge of local history, and they are led by professionals who are eager to find new ways to engage local folks in research, reading, inquiry.
The idea of latitude literacy is this- that people become familiar with what’s on their latitude line, and dive into the local nuances of other communities on the latitude line.
So not only are people with family and personal connections to Ontario NY interested in Ontario NY, but folks in Manchester Vermont are also interested. The history of Ontario is part of the latitude narrative, as is the history of Oggunquit Maine, Camarinas Spain, St. Jean Pied de Port, France, and on. Local places with a local following start to have a global one.
At the Ontario library, I started diving into the old maps in the local history section. They felt like maps of my town, but they were maps of another.
But we share the same narrative, of a latitude line around the world.
So latitude literacy is a way to begin building the library of a latitude line, one book and story at a time.