Education, Anarchists, and Libraries

Free education spaces exist, and need to be protected.

Odin Halvorson
3 min readApr 21, 2023
“Young girl reading a book, Central Circulating Library at College and St. George Streets, Toronto, Ontario / Une jeune fille lit un livre. Bibliothèque centrale de prêt à l’intersection des rues College et Saint-George, Toronto (Ontario)” by BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In the early half of the 20th century, George Scott Williamson and Innes Pearse opened the Pioneer Health Centre in Britain. This institution was remarkable for two essential reasons.

Firstly, the Centre’s goal was the promotion of health in an individual through the improvement of the individual’s environment, which especially included the family. In fact, the family and the individual were considered an inseparable entity when considering physiological and psychological ills. This would prefigure the work of Dr. Murray Bowen some thirty years later, which would provide proof of the effects of an individual’s family system (Kerr & Bowen, 1988).

Secondly, the Centre focused on the creation of an environment of “non-interference,” the provision of “a rich environment in which the child would naturally develop the habit” of self-exploratory growth (Charkin, 2014, p. 417).

Free and spontaneous development (specifically for children at the Centre) was the name of the game: if the children could be given freedom to discover their own interests, they would not only work harder to master those interests, they would cultivate a larger self-discipline within their lives. The anarchist scholar Sir Herbert Read believed that…

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Odin Halvorson

A futurist/socialist/fantasist writer, editor, and scholar. MFA/MLIS. Free access to my articles at OdinHalvorson.substack.com | More over at OdinHalvorson.com.