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Library at Night at Mattoon Public Library
April 28, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
I’m delighted to bring my Library at Night concert to Mattoon, Illinois!
Drawing inspiration from Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Night (a series of essays on the idea of the library), Colin McAllister’s captivating recital takes the listener on a literary, musical and historical journey through time and place. For several of Manguel’s essays (e.g. The Library as Imagination, The Library as Space, The Library as Oblivion) Colin interweaves music alongside readings from the book, historical vignettes and visual imagery in an engaging concert-length presentation. The compelling selection of music includes masters of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque polyphony, the first “Golden Age” of the guitar, sensual rhythms from Latin America and a newly commissioned work, Spines, by award-winning composer Christopher Adler. Join us for an unforgettable evening in The Library at Night and experience a feast for the ears, eyes and mind. “We believe that the Library of Alexandria was lodged in the Museum, the House of the Muses, daughters of the goddess Memory. All libraries inherit this inspired generosity of being lodged –and at the same time lodging– the nine muses and their arts. Libraries are not the exclusive realm of books: they hold images, maps, scores, scientific instruments and words in a myriad forms. In the sixth century, Saint Benedict maintained that unless prayer and chant were performed “as in the presence of angels” (as the Psalmist says) we create a “zone of dissimilarity”, a remoteness from true things that not only makes us dissimilar to them, but also to ourselves and to what it means to be human. All readers, all performers at their best, read and perform to bridge this remoteness. Conjuring up timeless music among timeless books in his “Library at Night”, Colin McAllister has succeeded in bringing to life the library’s relationship to all nine muses, “as in the presence of angels.” Alberto Manguel, New York, 25 January 2016.
The Mattoon Public Library was formed by a group of interested citizens in 1893. Ten years later in 1903, the Library moved into its current location.
The Library was built with funds from Andrew Carnegie and is one of the many Carnegie libraries in central Illinois. Andrew Carnegie believed that a person had to educate themselves, and libraries afforded anyone that opportunity. He also believed that people had to lift themselves up because no one was going to do it for them. The stairs leading up to the main entrances reflect this belief.
In 1995, an addition was built onto the main building. The people involved with the renovation wanted to keep the original feel of the building and, unlike many other Carnegie libraries, this addition closely matches the original. It is difficult to tell what parts of the Library is the old building and which are the new. This addition also helped make the building handicap accessible according to the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Researching genealogy or local history? The Library also houses Mattoon’s rare book and manuscript collections, some of which date back hundreds of years.