A Friday evening post: a couple of library mentions in early weekend reading

Lorcan 1 min read

The marvellous Philip French on the Da Vinci Code movie:

The one truly funny line, however, is spoken by Hanks and, presumably, it is intended to underpin his intellectual credentials. As he and Tautou are being chased through the streets of London, he is suddenly struck by a major thought: ‘I’ve got to get to a library fast,’ he says. [Guardian Unlimited Film | Reviews | The Da Vinci Code]

In the current issue of the London Review of Books, the prolific John Sutherland traces the co-evolution of the book and the booktrade. An arguable assertion about the public library:

Miller, with her long historical perspective, is interestingly ambivalent on the issues. More books are more easily available today than at any time in history, she points out. Before the appearance of the first-generation chains in the 1960s, the American book trade, and the codex book itself, were imperilled, largely as a result of the trade’s structural inefficiency. Few concerned observers, in 1953, regarded as far-fetched Ray Bradbury’s vision, in Farhenheit 451, of an America in which affluence, and five million TV sets, had rendered books culturally irrelevant. Whatever the chains’ and superstores’ shortcomings, they have pumped more reading matter into society, and into more levels of society, than at any period in history. They have also sucked money out; but that has been ploughed back into bigger and more efficient bookstores that have filled the gap left by the increasingly withered public library system. [Diary. London Review of Books, 25 May 2006.]

I wonder does he have UK, rather than US, public libraries in mind (see comments about perceptions of UK public libraries in an earlier post).
The Miller book he mentions is Reluctant capitalists: bookselling and the culture of consumption. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

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