A Letter to the Future
This letter to future citizens of Champaign was written for inclusion in the library time capsule, buried in July 2008, to be opened in July 2108.
Welcome. You were anticipated, and hold in your hands the kernel of what we held most true and dear. That you are here suggests your hunger for what we tried to leave you, the spirit of inquiry, quiet, firm against every intrusion, abridgment, or violation. We hope you will not think us vain to elevate the individual mind through the efforts of community. This force, as we understood it, built and cherished this and all libraries. We believed that material treasure is best employed to protect and defend our understanding of spirit and mind. Our bodies cannot be with you, but know that our best effort was meant to share with you those values, for they were not original to us. Once, we stood as you do, reflecting upon the spirit of those who left for us the token of their love and sacrifice for what and who they hoped they were — defenders of the freedom to define and know for self what selfhood is against the backdrop of human experience and community.
Community built this library, but you know that, though present, community must be much more. It is trans-historical. So, we are of your community, you of ours that lives in you — and in your commitment. Each of us, in turn, is destiny. Your time has arrived.
Michael J. La Due
Champaign Public Library Trustee, Champaign City Council Member and Deputy Mayor