What Makes a Library a Library?

Tim Newcomb, a Time correspondent and freelance journalist based in the Pacific Northwest, fields the question of what makes a library a library in his article: Is a Bookless Library Still a Library?  (Time U.S., July 11, 2011)

Norman Cousins (1915-1990), a well-known and respected editor and writer, said this about libraries: “The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one’s devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas – a place where history comes to life.”  (ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p. 475)

How do you define library?


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