On Saturday I went to a talk at Noe Valley’s library - one of twenty-eight branches in the city, not counting their mobile library service - about public libraries, by Robert Dawson, who’s been photographing them for nearly two decades.
Unfortunately, one of the anecdotes he used - that no American libraries closed during the Depression - turns out not the be true. However, this quote shows how valuable libraries were - and were perceived to be.
I also didn’t realise that public - as opposed to university or subscription - libraries were invented in the US. Definitely a worthwhile talk, and the photographic exhibition is still on at the main branch of the SFPL.