That library will get you any book you want through the Alaska State Library’s Interlibrary Loan System, who will fly it north for you FOR FREE so you can read it in their warm reading room, or at home. Libraries, if they didn’t already exist, would sound like a naive fantasy.
— Dork Money Defeats Dark Money (@Pinboard) October 11, 2018
Yes. If libraries had never been created, they’d now sound like the wackiest fantasy in Wackytown, and you’d have people screeching about Communism and the satanic evil of such a patently absurd, unworkable idea — it’d be like the idea of free university but worse as it’d be even more likely the poors would use a library.
To most people, what exists before they are 12-16 or so just seems to be the natural order of things — nearly unquestionable. Because libraries exist, they are seen as uncreated, given, just the way things are. But of course, they are human creations and not predestined.
In a way, this does not give me hope for putting in place other similar community goods because people seem to be unable to connect libraries with other initiatives, like free university or universal health care. When I bring this obvious connection up, the response is often, “Well, libraries are different.” When, of course, they are no different. Very little conceptual transfer for most people, in any domain, because they have no coherent viewpoint on much.