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Why libraries matter

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In Eric Klinenberg’s wonderful book – Palaces for the People – he recounts the power of public libraries as essential to efforts to bring the country together, reduce the opportunity gap, and build civic life. 

Little Free Library on a front lawn

As a long-time believer in and supporter of public libraries, I’m all in.  We’re fortunate in Delaware to have a state librarian who so deeply believes this, and supports this idea.  And even more, we have so many librarians in Delaware who live these ideas every day.

In this episode of the podcast, Annie Norman talks about how Delaware’s many libraries are implementing programs that address inequality and build community. 

In a 2019 blog, I wrote about libraries and said, “libraries are the quintessential small-d democratic community institution. It’s where we all meet, where we socialize, where we learn and where we relax.” And I would add – and they do so in a way that helps bridge our divides, and give everybody meaningful access, and a meaningful chance.

And oh yeah – “Palaces for the People?” – here’s a passage from Klinenberg’s book. He’s talking with a librarian in New York. “The library really is a palace. It bestows nobility on people who can’t otherwise afford a shred of it. People need to have nobility and dignity in their lives. And, you know, they need other people to recognize it in them too.” Spot on. Community, nobility, access, equity. Check out the podcast here.