In his Armageddon in Retrospect, Kurt Vonnegut has something to say about the practice of borrowing and lending books:
Don’t judge a book by its cover … because sometimes the back and cover are by far the best parts of it, as Mr. Brownlow informed little Oliver Twist:
(Being a councillor is) “a bit of a waste of time, to be honest. It’s not like you get to drop bombs on Osama bin Laden or anything like that. You just talk about how to get more teenagers to use the libraries … “
Why do we bother to bring more kids into the library (even though they don’t want to spend their time there)? Why should it matter? Is it only so that we (i.e. librarians) keep our jobs? How would a teenager (or anybody else, for that matter) benefit from using a library?
What is the summum bonum a library (and only a library) can offer?