It is de rigueur in modern Library circles to constantly come up with vibrant, new, and innovative Library programs and then vaunt the hell out of them. The programs need not be particularly useful or interesting, though I suppose often enough they are. Their main goal is to create the look of industriousness, vitality, and value to the taxpayer. They are to dazzle and confuse the great Republican eye that currently extends deep into the moderate flank of Democrats and would explode with a dangerous rage if it realized that there is genuine, highly effective and popular socialism carrying along, in a matter of course way, right under their noses, right in the innocent Libraries.
All these programs, useful indeed though they may be, all your WWII speakers and classes on how to use the mouse, the fun with 3D printers and kids reading to dogs, and prizes and book clubs and author visits, all of them are marketing and sales, extras and dazzlements of the eye. They are good works for the overstocked librarians, and they make lovely public relations. And it is all an okay price to pay, maybe even a great price, a win-win price, but only so long as it does its job. Because all of it is mere clothes and fancies, funny hats and politics, but it is not the body. The body of the Library is and will always be books and a place, open to all. If I must, I'll even throw in all the movies and music and, yes, your stupid E-books and internets if you promise to be a little more careful with them. But this is the Library, untethered culture, curated knowledge and art, as much of it as wide open and as free and as good as we can get it. The rest, the rest is baubles, apocrypha, fan fiction.