In case you missed it, last month Forbes published an op-ed that stoked so much public outrage that the editors felt compelled to delete it. Libraries, it argued, should be replaced by Amazon to save taxpayers money. Yet Panos Moudoukoutas’s piece was based on a common misconception: that libraries are only repositories of books, whereas in truth, they provide myriad other services—and generate an enormous return on investment. To bust the myth that libraries could ever be replaced by a for-profit enterprise, we hit the stacks ourselves and spoke to librarian Amanda Oliver about the services that libraries don’t get enough credit for.
Go beyond the episode:
- Read Amanda Oliver’s stirring defense of the library
- Here are some of the Twitter highlights in response to Moudoukoutas’s op-ed (be sure to grab some popcorn)
- Read Ray Bradbury’s 1971 essay, “How, Instead of Being Educated in College, I was Graduated From Libraries,” fittingly published in the Wilson Library Bulletin
- Explore the DC Public Library’s Punk Archive documenting the singular Washington music scene
- Learn more about the services that social workers provide to libraries
- A New York Times reporter spent a year reporting the life of a homeless woman who was a fixture at her local library
- If you really love libraries, move to Finland: in addition to cutting-edge architecture and dazzlingly democratic services, Finnish kirjasto also offer library royalties to Finnish writers—nearly as much per borrowed book as per paperback sold
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
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Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!
This episode features a beloved song from PBS’s Arthur. Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.
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