Public libraries as political “lodestars”

I haven’t used public libraries as much in recent years, not for books for myself anyway, but for kids books, working, and some events. Still, huge fan of libraries and I will be using this!

I’ve found a few of these lodestars, and one I’ll share is this: The modern public library is the best thing people ever made. What’s good for public libraries is good for everybody and everything.

This turns out to be really quite clarifying! It’s not that every policy question is somehow “about” public libraries. But, given a proposal, you can almost always ask yourself: “How would this affect public libraries, directly or indirectly?” and come up with something useful. (The backup question is, “What would a public librarian think about this?” which also works surprisingly well.)

I could write more about libraries, and probably will. Suffice it to say, the public library made me. It’s a debt beyond repayment. The best I can do is keep reading, and keep writing, and every now and then, go to a fundraising dinner.

Source: ☄️ Week 7, a series of interlinking devices, debates, and visions | Buttondown