It’s hard for me to even remember the last time I was in a library.
[I]t’s impossible to see a world where we keep libraries open simply to pretend they still serve a purpose for which they no longer serve.
I’ve had library cards for all the cities I’ve lived in (and a couple I didn’t really live in)—Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra (Los Angeles County), Huntington Beach, San Diego, San Francisco—and visited all those libraries more than once. I’ve never seen one not busy. Varying degrees of crowded, depending on the time of day, but never not busy. They just opened a massive new library in San Diego; it’s hardly been deserted. WTF!
I took two and a half years to get a San Francisco public library card, but I wish I had earlier. Sure, they have books, and I use them to catch up with printed comics (Fraction’s Hawkeye is great), but that’s not why I evangelise it.
No, the reason I do that are the ten ebooks you can rent at a time (with no risk of late fees), and the JSTOR and OED access (amongst many other databases, including newspaper archives and other academic search engines).
That’s just the selfish stuff for me, a rich white guy. I also recognise the space libraries give to parents who can’t afford new books for their kids all the time; those whose neighbourhoods don’t have bookshops; the jobless using them for access to computers (a huge part of public library usage these day); and those who can just use them as a rare uncommercial space in the US.
Libraries. Use them, and promote them, before we lose them.
I’m getting married in a library, two weeks from this Sunday. Because libraries are sacred territory. They embody the public record of humanity’s attempt to rise up and be something greater than a chattering shaved ape, preserved and accessible to all citizens.
All citizens. Not those who can afford it.
If preening, over-privileged, short-sighted fuckstains like M.G. Siegler want to sneer at that, then let them.
Meanwhile, support your local library. There are people less fortunate who rely on them. And our society is full of mean, shitty people who will laugh and make a quip on twitter if the libraries close.