Jeff Bezos should invest billions of dollars in libraries

Librarians are not shudders, and libraries are no longer silent mosques to read alone. (They still have a reading room – don’t worry.) Instead, these great civilian architectures are being replaced: They offer computer skills classes and thousands Another subject, providing internet access to millions of Americans who might not be able to afford it, and hosts countless neighbor meetings.

Libraries today are offering meals for children and adults through local food banks, working with local immigration agencies, offering homework help and lending. There are many wonderful things, from musical instruments to microscopes. (Yes: The Library of Things.) What they’re doing is blinding. And in 2013, 94% of Americans said having a public library improved the quality of life in the community. As America grows older and more inequality, its people need new forms of education to thrive – and libraries are the point of no basis for all the public values ​​the country cares about.

The American Library Association said that more than 120,000 US public, school, academic, and special libraries are visited by hundreds of millions of Americans more than 1.4 billion times a year in every corner of the country and every path of life. living. They complement, but don’t compete with, his mighty commercial book-selling venture, Mr. Bezos. At the same time, libraries often lack resources. Limited hours. Limited staff. Underpaid. The need for innovation is constantly. Bronze.

Libraries are trying to serve everyone in an age without government support, growing need, and staggering inequality – just as the era gave us Andrew Carnegie. His response to the problems of his time was to build thousands of public libraries across the country, starting in 1886. Most of those dear community libraries are still active. Carnegie set a high target, wanting to make the world a better place than he had found. And he succeeded.

Here’s a twist in the story you, Mr. Bezos, may not be aware of: Carnegie’s money is given on condition that local public agencies step up their commitment to supporting and sustaining the organizations he came up. For Carnegie, this structure fits with the idea that communities are being helped to help themselves – a pillar for him. Many cities turned down Carnegie’s offer, and later regretted it.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images (L) and Bettmann / Getty Images (R)

If you want your name to be kept forever in the memories of generations – or if you simply want a legacy worthy of the fortune you have reaped – then you don’t have to start. something new or even put it in your name. (You didn’t rename the Washington Post either, but it has become one of the few great news sources in the world.) Hidden within conspicuous sight, local American libraries are patiently waiting for your attention. (They are also usually really nice spaces, and I can say you love the design. Just down the street from your headquarters is Rem Koolhaas’ amazing Seattle main library, with designated areas. named after the sponsors and relatives of Paul Allen, Microsoft, Charles Simonyi, and Boeing.)

Whether or not the local library that a random American uses today was actually built by Carnegie, that person knows what the philanthropist did. More importantly, if a philanthropist is someone who wants a glimpse of what his money has done, he will be proud of what his money has achieved.

Sadly, the federal and state governments are continuous reduce library funding. You would most likely think that politicians do not want members of the public to have access to knowledge that will lead them to make informed decisions! But those politicians are ignoring the fact that libraries are the stronghold of civilization and that the economic ladder for others is stuck on the last rungs. Why not leverage your money, Mr. Bezos, to push public agencies to do their part? Just like Carnegie did. It’s hard to imagine better use of billions of dong.

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