A library is more than books alone. According to a fascinating and lengthy article by Zadie Smith:

Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay…

There aren’t many institutions left that fit so precisely Keynes’s definition of things that no one else but the state is willing to take on. Nor can the experience of library life be recreated online. It’s not just a matter of free books. A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.

Books are wonderful, but in the digital age, the best libraries are reinventing themselves to extend beyond the book. What are some other services that could be offered or items that could be lent to ensure the vibrancy of the institution of the library?

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