By John Warner, Chicago Tribune, Apr 30, 2022 at 6:00 am
Thank goodness public libraries already exist, because if they didn’t, there’s no way we’d ever be able to establish similar institutions in today’s dis-United States of America.from article…
There are a number of reasons I’m skeptical. For one, belief in institutions, in general, is at an all-time low ebb. Government, schools, churches — the entities in which people are expected to come together and sacrifice some portion of their individual well-being for an overall increase in the common good — either have significantly less salience in today’s society (churches), or are under direct assault by forces that seem to not just be partisan politically, but actively anti-democracy.
Weakened institutions aside, there also seems to be an overall lack of communal spirit.
Our inability to act collectively to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic is illustrative here. Inconvenience or discomfort, or worse, someone else getting something one thinks they might not “deserve” would all make libraries a difficult sell.
I can imagine the internet hot take: Why punish people who can afford to buy books by making them free to read for everyone?