Remember the first time you went to a public library? Probably not, ok - Remember last year when you went to the library to check out The Pocket Zen Reader? Well, maybe that's just me -
In Louisville, the main branch of the public library is on 3rd and York, roughly taking up the entire block. It's a cool place, once when I was leaving, a homeless man gave me a well-worn BET t-shirt, 3 pictures of Jesus, and a T-mobile lunch bag. I still have the pictures of Jesus. In any case, no matter how many times I get hit up for money or am scared to get out of my car I will continue to go to the public library downtown. The foyer of the building is gorgeous, by the way, and there is always a fresh rotation of art.
One thing that remains the same each time I go to the public library is that the computers with the internet seem to be the most popular attraction. Reading books is boring anyway, unless it's Pocket Zen Reader. Anyhow - my point is this: if people aren't looking at the internet, they want to be. It's more engaging than television because we get to interact and communicate, and it's more productive than a video game, unless you count spending two days straight playing Final Fantasy XXVII as productive. Pretty soon the library will be a book cemetery full of computers.
The average public library internet user is not the ideal consumer, I know. I recently saw a PBS special on the hippies that invaded San Francisco in the 60s. I was fascinated by their "no work, buy nothing" mentality. I bet those hippies hung out all day at the public library, and nothing against a hippie, if anyone is a tree-hugger it's me. Personally, I like to work and I like buying stuff, a lot. Treehugger.com, anyone? Living beings have no absolute self; they are all influenced by conditions and actions? Thank you, Zen Reader. As seedy as facilities at public libraries may be sometimes, it's nice to have those public spaces with internet resources for those who normally have no access to a metal box with a fan on it. Communal internet: the trickle down effect at it's finest.