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What Will We Do If Public Libraries No Longer Exist?

Kamila Shamsie

2011 Anisfield-Wolf winner Kamila Shamsie reflects on the availability of literature through the world’s public libraries—and what that means for future generations

“A couple of years ago, after a reading in Karachi, I told off a young man who was asking me to sign a pirated copy of one of my books. Piracy is destroying publishing in Pakistan, I told him. He said he understood but added that because pirated books are cheaper he could buy more of them. It’s not as if Karachi is filled with public libraries, he said.” 

Shamsie goes on to discuss the rising crisis in London, where 10 percent of all libraries have closed since April 2011. Read the full article here. A commenter on the article added: 

“Libraries are important not just for the poor. They work for all of us and not only for books or computers. During this financial crisis we are living in, more people is going to the library to learn something new, to attend a free lecture, to polish his/her resume, to enjoy music from all over the world. Libraries are making everything they can to adapt their services to a new the technology not to mention how they help the new immigrant population. We have the moral obligation to protect, preserve and increase the public libraries.”

How often do you visit your town’s public library? Do they serve an important purpose in today’s society, even as technology expands our access to literature?

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