“One of the key aspects of Eric’s book is this idea that libraries—and he’s really talking about public libraries—are social infrastructure. He talks very eloquently about the New York Public Library system, and particularly about the branch libraries, how they are places where public education can take place, where the patrons are not judged by how much money they have, but are treated equally, no matter what segment of society they come from. They are open long hours, sometimes they’re there simply to provide a warm place for people to gather…In the 19th century, libraries began to be established as a legal requirement by public authorities. I think the public library is evolving from being simply a place for self-service, to being a place which is much more proactive in communities. So, during lockdown, lots of public libraries in the UK and in the US would know their elderly clientele and they had a rota to telephone them.” Read more...
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