Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sanctuary amid the stacks (link to an article, plus some comments)

I read this a while ago and thought "Yes! That's it!" And I meant to say something wise to accompany it and share it. Instead, I left it languishing in the "Drafts" folder, neither shared nor commented on, so here it is, belated but still true: Sanctuary Amid the Stacks I don't have a lot to add. It is true. Libraries hold the older books longer than bookstores, they let you take them home for a while, and then bring them back. They are places of discovery and delight. They let you check out books you might like and discover that you love them--or that you can't stand them, free of charge. They make risk and exploration possible in a way that bookstores, much as I value them, don't. And, as Iyer comments, they let you "find what you weren't looking for." It's possible to browse the bookshelves, making unexpected discoveries (I guarantee you I would never have read Spiders: Learning to Love Them without the library, nor The Disappearing Spoon, nor, oh a hundred or so other books I've read and adored over the years). And, yes, they provide free internet for those who can't afford it, and a quiet place to sit for people who need it for any reason. They're not replaceable.

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