The Quiet Majesty of America’s Public Libraries and More Critical Linking

Traveling to these libraries, and their communities, was an eye-opening experience for Dawson. It drove home how essential libraries are, especially for lower-income visitors who can’t always otherwise access the educational tools—especially digital ones—that libraries provide. “They’re not just a nice add-on,” he tells CityLab. All across the U.S., libraries “are providing the basic things that have become essential to functioning in our society.”

I’ve kept an eye on the articles about Dawson and his documentation of American libraries and love this one . . . and the accompanying photos. Can’t wait to see what he does with European libraries.


We grouped events by city, and ended up with the most poetic cities in the world. You can look at the infographic first, then we point out some events in each city, and finally you get to play with the information yourself. That’s right, go to the bottom of the page to start browsing through the cities to actually see what happened there, and to whom. Clicking London, for example, will take you to the page with all the writers who were, in any way, connected to London. Clicking on your favorite poet will show you events, like birth, death, publications, etc., associated with that poet.

Let us take a look at the ten most poetic cities of the world.

Data + Nice Infographic + Poetry + Geography = My Kryptonite.


My point is not so much to deny that young readers would turn to print because they are tired of the internet, but to point out that printed books offer a tested, reliable, and powerful sense of the actual — of a meaningful, organizing experience. Digital fatigue might just be offline enthusiasm.

This gets a little too unnecessarily High Brow, but an interesting question as to why there’s been a decline in e-book sales (I don’t think digital fatigue is unreasonable…nor the idea of poor user experience).


The female writers, for whatever reason (men?), don’t much believe in heroes, which makes their kind of storytelling perhaps a better fit for these cynical times. Their books are light on gunplay, heavy on emotional violence. Murder is de rigueur in the genre, so people die at the hands of others—lovers, neighbors, obsessive strangers—but the body counts tend to be on the low side. “I write about murder,” Tana French once said, “because it’s one of the great mysteries of the human heart: How can one human being deliberately take another one’s life away?” Sometimes, in the work of French and others, the lethal blow comes so quietly that it seems almost inadvertent, a thing that in the course of daily life just happens. Death, in these women’s books, is often chillingly casual, and unnervingly intimate.

I’ve been eager to read a good piece on the rise of women in crime fiction, and this one is a pretty solid read.

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Kelly Jensen: Kelly is a former teen and adult librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Twitter @veronikellymars.