Why libraries still matter

Salon’s Laura Miller has a nice write-up on why libraries still matter. Apart from the usual stuff, you know, books, she also details what else a library might collect by showcasing a few items currently on exhibit at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue:

Those items are priceless, but what about a small folding pamphlet titled “What to Do If You’re Arrested,” distributed in the bad old days of the 1960s by the gay-rights organization the Mattachine Society and just the size to fit discreetly into a back pocket? Or the underground anti-Nazi propaganda tracts from 1939, complete with the tomato seed and tea packets they were originally concealed inside? The exhibit includes copies of anti-Semitic German children’s books published around the same time and a collection of lapel buttons from the civil rights era.

There’s a few other valid points in there, so go ahead and read it.