“Shakespeare and Shakespeare’s works are on the curriculum around the United States. … It’s a bit like a rite of passage, and it doesn’t have to be painful,” Witmore said. “We can help show why it’s exciting, why you can learn things by standing up and acting them instead of just reading them. And it’s something we’ve been doing for a long time in public schools across the country. … So we’re taking the work we’ve got, and we’re sharing it in schools across the country, and we can do that electronically.”
Nothing can replace coming to the Folger in person, Witmore said. But ensuring that the library makes it easier to access content electronically — and making the public aware of the riches the collection has available — is paramount to its continued success.
“I want to place an emphasis on [social media] because we live in a world that communicates in many different ways,” Witmore said. “And this is something Shakespeare understood, too. … He was someone who thought you should engage the whole person. And I don’t think that it’s our role that we should teach people to write better Twitter feeds. But I do think that Twitter and other social media provide us another way to reach out to people and bring them into the library.”