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Rethinking Our Public Libraries

July 09, 1988

After reading Aronoff's column, I thought more about the role of libraries in the community. I feel that part of the cause of minimal public support for libraries is the strong trend in this society for households to own one of everything in the marketplace. The habit of communal sharing of resources is not very widespread.

If people used libraries more, the world would be a much more efficient place: think of the millions of once-read books cluttering up shelves, along with all the other information/entertainment paraphernalia that we feel we must have in our homes to enjoy the good life. Think of the money we would save; think of the garage sales we could avoid holding and attending.

My favorite vision of libraries is one where the library is a multifunctional, multimedia gathering place. Where once the church was the urban focus and the shopping mall now is, I would like to see the library, in its expanded role, as the urban focal point. Life could be enriched for those who choose to leave their cocoon-like homes to combine informal and self-directed learning with pleasure and socializing.

MEREDITH SOWDEN

San Pedro

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