“Like radios without batteries”

From today's USA Today:

This is the story of a neighborhood that refused
to let violence kill a library; on the contrary, it has come to see the
library as a solution to the violence.

Despite predictions that the Internet would kill
the public library, library use has been increasing. According to the
American Library Association, the number of books and other materials
checked out increased 3.5% in 2003, the most recent year for which
statistics are available.

In some communities, branch libraries are more
popular than ever. Los Angeles is completing a program to build and
renovate 63 branches. Chicago has opened 49 since 1989, part of a city
plan to create neighborhood anchors. Last fall, Detroit opened its
first branch library since 1965.

Communities without free access to books, says
the writer Anne Lamott, "are like radios without batteries. … You cut
people off from incredible sources of information — mythical,
practical, linguistic, or political — and you break them."

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