Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Sad But True: Libraries in Malls

Prisilla Gluckman reads to her four-year-old son Oscar Gluckman at Bookmarks, a Dallas Public Library Branch at NorthPark Center mall in Dallas.

I’m back from a whirlwind summer trip to the Midwest for a family wedding and a week in Ptown for a writing fellowship. Hope you’re enjoying the langourous days of summer. It’s hot as hell in Boston.

In the Sad But True Files: a Dallas public library moved into a shopping mall two years ago, and found that it circulates “as many items as branches eight times its size.” Seems as if the librarians have increased usage of the public library by locating it to a hub of commerce. An informal tally of U.S. public libraries in shopping malls puts the number at about two dozen branches.

Good or bad thing? Or both?

The cynic in me sees it as part of the trend toward devaluing literature and reading. Why draw a line between art and commerce? Oprah’s Book Club may be another study in ambivalence: How can it be bad for publishing and literature if Oprah sells all those books?

After all, who needs to make a separate stop at the library when you can pick up a jalapeno cheese pretzel and a sweater on sale at Abercrombie and Fitch at the same time?

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Filed under: consumerism, libraries, literature, , , , , , ,

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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