In Defense of Libraries

shawIn 1921, playwright and man of letters George Bernard Shaw penned this defense of public libraries for The New Republic (typically of Shaw, it is both serious and arch):  “The importance of public libraries can hardly be exaggerated; yet it is seldom apparent to that most influential but most disastrous of public councillors, the practical man of business. He is revolted by the spectacle of a pretentious building, and a huge and costly collection of books, and one solitary reader who is not even fashionably dressed. Let us have the libraries whether they are empty or full.  I myself worked in its reading-room daily at the beginning of my literary career; and oh the difference to me! And that difference was a difference to all the readers of my books ”  Click on the link for the complete text.

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