I loved the essay Philip Roth wrote about how important his local public library was to him and why he’s donating his personal collection to it. A few highlights:
“Why the Newark Public Library?”
“….Facing the park on the northwest side was the grand facade of the main library, with its thousands and thousands of books and its gloriously inviting open stacks, where you could sit yourself down on the hard floor of a narrow aisle between the walls of shelves and find there, in front of you and behind you, above and below you, not only the books you were looking for but dozens more on the same subject that you had never heard of. You could sit there gorging on your subject until you couldn’t bear any longer being cramped up on the floor and carried off as many books as you could manage to your seat at a table in the reading room.
“During that first year at Newark Rutgers, during the many hours each day when I didn’t have classes, the stacks and the reference room and the reading rooms of the main library were where I camped out when I wanted a quiet place to be alone to read or to study or to look something up. It was my other Newark home. My first other home.
“I ask you, where else should my personal library be located?”