A library is reactionary. Burning books is progressive.

A library is reactionary. Burning books is progressive. By Daniel Greenfield.

The Library Journal recently retweeted the accusation that, “Library collections continue to promote and proliferate whiteness with their very existence” and all the books by white people “are physically taking up space in our libraries.” …

“Little House on the Prairie” is one of those “library collections” proliferating “whiteness” and “taking up space in our libraries”. Exhibits of the books already come with warnings about “problematic” content. And, before long, a pressure campaign will see them forced out of their traditional spaces in libraries.

What will replace them? Probably nothing.

The Library Journal retweeted a screed calling for more minority books. But the definition of what a minority is constantly keeps changing. A library collection filled with books across the racial spectrum won’t sufficiently represent transgender authors. And once enough transgender authors are recruited, published and embedded, it won’t represent whatever the next great identity politics cause will be. …

Libraries and leftism are not compatible:

Leftism requires not just a revolution, but an endless cycle of them. Libraries seek to preserve the sum of human knowledge, science, art and literature. The ideology and the institution are on a collision course. The ideology worships newness for its own sake, destroying the old to justify its power, while the institution preserves the old, deriving its legitimacy from the study of the past.

Soviet libraries were caught in a cycle of censorship as new histories and political positions kept emerging. The old Communist hero was now a traitor. Lenin’s old position was now taboo. The books that contained them had to be eliminated. That’s the same problem facing the modern library which has to police the constantly changing political boundaries of timeless literature.

The easiest way to run a library is to stock as few books as possible. And that’s the future.

National Library, in Canberra. Looks the same as always, on the outside…

The future is here:

Modern libraries are dumping their collections, opening up more work spaces and adding classes, events and programs. Lefties have little use for libraries with their collections of printed books. Library spaces have to function as social organizing hubs for immigrants, minorities and activists. If people have to read in a library, it should be a screen. The internet rewards the trending topics of the moment. Not the past.

There are no concerns about that worn 1971 copy of “Little House in the Big Woods” on a back shelf because an internet search will be biased to push the latest social justice essays about the series. Libraries exist to curate an intellectual history while the current internet model pioneered by Google and reinforced by social media, exists entirely in the trending moment with no sense of history at all.

The real problem with the past though is the litany of the crimes and failures of the Left. That litany is mysteriously omitted in the latest lecture of how America was built by exploiting the oppressed. Leftist history is always being revised. The revolution of the moment is urgent and inevitable. The revolutions of the past are old history. Nothing needs to be learned from the past. And it’s best not to have libraries. …

And so the library becomes the anti-library.

The anti-library is dedicated to limiting knowledge and eliminating the past. The fewer books there are, the easier it is to make sure that they are the right ones. …

Why have libraries at all?

The obvious answer is that they employ librarians. And they provide internet access to homeless people and teach English to day laborers. They offer spaces for visitors to study the slogans on all their posters. That’s the anti-library future of the library. A space with few books and many screens. A community organizing hub that occasionally happens to have a few books tucked away somewhere.

I used to love libraries, in the days before the Internet. I’ve seen them change, and Greenfield is spot on.