Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay. In the modern state there are very few sites where this is possible. The only others that come readily to my mind require belief in an omnipotent creator as a condition for membership. It would seem the most obvious thing in the world to say that the reason why the market is not an efficient solution to libraries is because the market has no use for a library. But it seems we need, right now, to keep re-stating the obvious. There aren’t many institutions left that fit so precisely Keynes’ definition of things that no one else but the state is willing to take on. Nor can the experience of library life be recreated online. It’s not just a matter of free books. A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.

Zadie Smith, in the New York Review of Books. (via thebronzemedal)

(via thelifeguardlibrarian)

Notes

  1. intrepidcubreporter reblogged this from teachingliteracy
  2. berenjena-rebozada reblogged this from the-batgrrrl
  3. the-batgrrrl reblogged this from bookshelfporn
  4. practicallyap reblogged this from bookshelfporn
  5. believeinillustration reblogged this from thehappysorceress
  6. rmaddened reblogged this from noteworthy-thoughts
  7. concre reblogged this from livinthefool
  8. livinthefool reblogged this from aevaelliot
  9. aevaelliot reblogged this from monsieurbombardier
  10. la-vie-coquette reblogged this from daisysgapyear
  11. daisysgapyear reblogged this from our-blue-nights
  12. gfzoda reblogged this from rattiepuff
  13. scribaby reblogged this from birthmark-poetry
  14. ccclibrary reblogged this from folksterlibrarian
  15. hheather17 reblogged this from bookshelfporn
  16. folksterlibrarian reblogged this from bookshelfporn
  17. mvryb reblogged this from bookshelfporn
  18. little-one-winged reblogged this from queendarthzannah
  19. a-poets-corner-of-a-room reblogged this from queendarthzannah
  20. kawaii4always reblogged this from chomperella
  21. chomperella reblogged this from neutroisenjolras
  22. andrewmcintyre reblogged this from phendrana
  23. phendrana reblogged this from bookshelfporn
  24. chitownbuddhist69 reblogged this from chitownchef69
  25. queendarthzannah reblogged this from neutroisenjolras
  26. jkjournal reblogged this from futurecanadian