Slate has an interesting article on the roles that libraries continue to play, and it does a lot to dispel many of the more common myths that are circulated by the ill-informed. It’s a great read, and I’ll just call out some of the better points that are well-known to those who operate and use out libraries:
- “…low-income and minority Americans are far more likely than others to assert that they would be negatively affected if their local library closed“. One of the more common arguments is that libraries aren’t needed because “it’s all on the internet”. But the reality is that even in Silicon Valley, libraries provide opportunities and access that aren’t affordable by or available to all residents.
- Public libraries “provide access to economic opportunities available through few other venues“.
- “…libraries contribute to government transparency and civic participation“.
- “Libraries are powerful precisely because they’re spaces of potentiality“.
The article makes a compelling argument that those who would champion governmental transparency, civic engagement, and empowering residents to overcome income inequality should champion public libraries.