The Public Library: A Photographic Essay


Beginning in 1994, Robert Dawson has photographed hundreds of the more than 17,000 libraries across America. As he writes in an article from The Morning News,

…From Alaska to Florida, New England to the West Coast, the photographs reveal a vibrant, essential, yet threatened system.

“A public library can mean different things to different people. For me, the library offers our best example of the public commons. For many, the library upholds the 19th-century belief that the future of democracy is contingent upon an educated citizenry. For others, the library simply means free access to the Internet, or a warm place to take shelter, a chance for an education, or the endless possibilities that jump to life in your imagination the moment you open the cover of a book.”

For further thoughts on the power of the library, take a look at E.B. White’s letter to Margeurite Hart, the first children’s librarian at the Troy Public Library, in 1971.

Public_Library_White_p77

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